BT appoints MD of advanced enterprise comms division, inks ABB contract

Managing director appointed for what is regarded as a likely key growth engine for UK incumbent telco’s enterprise business, moving it from a telco to a techco by expanding into services that go beyond traditional calls and lines

UK telco BT has appointed Marc Overton as managing director of its newly created Division X unit, a part of its enterprise business established to commercialise the development of unique customer solutions including components such as 5G private networks, internet of things (IoT) and edge computing.

BT regards these technologies as being able to provide the foundations to fuel the digital transformation of high-growth industries such as healthcare, transport and logistics, putting the telco at the heart of building the UK’s economic recovery. Division X will also manage BT’s portfolio of specialised businesses.

Overton is said to bring substantial global senior management and business development experience, as well as extensive knowledge across mobile, IoT, cloud, software-as-a-service and managed services – all of which are strategic growth areas for BT’s Enterprise division.

Before joining BT, Overton worked at Sierra Wireless, a global provider of IoT and enterprise networking systems, where he rose to the position of chief solutions officer and senior vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC), where he grew the global solutions and service business sevenfold between 2017 and 2020.

Prior to that, he was managing director of global innovation and sales for West Coast startup Cisco Jasper, the world’s largest IoT platform. Earlier in his career, Overton ran EMEA for First Data (now Fiserv), helping it to transform from being a payment processing company into a merchant solutions business. He also held a variety of roles at EE and Orange UK, where he built their mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and IoT businesses.

“Division X is set to be a key growth engine for BT’s enterprise business, moving it from a telco to a techco by expanding into adjacent services that go beyond traditional calls and lines,” said Overton. “I am really excited to be leading a unit that will act as an innovation hub for our enterprise customers. We will be focused on turning emerging tech like 5G, IoT, edge and AI [artificial intelligence] into solutions that we can scale, sell, and which will drive sustainable growth.”

Rob Shuter, CEO of BT’s enterprise business, added: “Marc’s breadth of global experience across mobile and digital platforms, together with his proven ability to transform the latest tech innovations into scalable customer solutions, made him the ideal candidate to lead Division X. Through Division X, we will co-create and productise solutions, working directly with them so they can get the most out of the latest tech.”

As it was announcing Overton’s appointment, BT also revealed that it was working with global manufacturing firm ABB to elevate its internationally managed communications infrastructure to new levels of performance, choice and agility to support the company’s new operating model.

Building on an existing agreement signed in 2014, under which BT consolidated and optimised ABB’s international communications infrastructure, the telco will now work with ABB’s information systems team to transform the network infrastructure to create a sustainable, resilient and secure core platform featuring a highly automated and data-driven managed service.

The communications infrastructure will connect people, devices and machines at more than 600 facilities in 60 countries. Using the latest software-defined networking technology, it will offer ABB a choice of connectivity options for each site, including 5G access.

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