Former Saatchi saviour Adam Crozier continues rise at BT

We often hear about the absence of a marketing voice at the top tables of big companies these days but that can’t be said of Adam Crozier, tipped to be the next chairman of the UK’s BT, a massive business that includes mobile provider EE and broadband digger Open Reach.

Crozier has had an interesting career, from sales at the Telegraph to boss of post-brothers Saatchi & Saatchi then to the Football Association at a time when its jinks off the field were rather more interesting than the performances on it. Thence to Royal Mail, with the formidable Alan Leighton, and to ITV.

Timing is important in these things and it could be said that Crozier’s disinclination to outstay his welcome at all these places has played a part in his impressive rise.

But he’s become, it seems, the proverbial safe pair of hands (he’s also currently chairman of Whitbread, data business Kantar and online fashion disruptor Asos although he’s expected to stand down from the latter.)

At BT he has some big issues to deal with, not least forging a stable relationship with hard-driving CEO Philip Jansen. But BT needs to demonstrate it can finally fulfil its never-ending task to deliver fast, reliable broadband to the UK plus fight off the challenge from newly-merged Virgin and O2 in mobile while retaining enough in the kitty to reward long-suffering shareholders.

At ITV he succeeded in keeping its end up when many were predicting a capitulation to an overseas (probably American) buyer.

Not bad for a young shaver from the media department who nobody really thought would keep the old Saatchi & Saatchi afloat when Charles, Maurice and the gang upped sticks for M&C Saatchi. But, as they used to say at his old agency, “Nothing is impossible.”

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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