6 November 2017


Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT Group, presses for certainty over Brexit at #CBI2017

Gavin Patterson, who leads global communications services company BT Group, was interviewed by Anna Edwards, co-anchor at Bloomberg Daybreak Europe, at the CBI Annual Conference 2017.

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT Group, presses for certainty over Brexit at #CBI2017

Speaking about planning Britain’s future, the key messages from the session focused on:

  1. Embracing technology, artificial intelligence and automation – a huge opportunity, but business needs to help sell the vision of what can be achieved.
  2. Certainty – and the need for more of it. With Brexit, business needs a transition deal that gives access to markets and skills and ensures a free flow of data.

Brexit was Gavin’s most pressing issue. He argued for more clarity about what is going to happen to help ensure the UK remains a global force, attractive to both capital and skills.

Globalisation is an ongoing force too, he said, and it is important for business to work with it in order to benefit the economy.

BT has a role to play to help solve the UK’s productivity issue, by building networks and continuing the broadband roll out. BT has always invested in research and development and has made innovative breakthroughs such as fibre. But he explained for this investment to continue both certainty from government and access to skills were important.

Gavin advised that it is up to every business to embrace technology and ensure automation is inclusive. This will impact jobs but not necessarily replace them. People will need to have the right technology skills to take advantage of the myriad of opportunities that arise from digitisation.

With Brexit high on Gavin’s agenda, attracting people from around the world was a key concern. He acknowledged that the unknown was difficult for any business, but added that the flow of data was just as critical to a business like BT.