BT boss Philip Jansen tests positive for COVID-19

BT boss Philip Jansen becomes the first FTSE 100 chief executive to test positive for coronavirus just days after meeting with CEOs of O2 and Three

  • Jansen met with other industry bosses on Monday to sign rural broadband deal 
  • O2 and Vodafone CEOs are now reportedly self-isolating after also attending 
  • BT is working with Public Health England to sterilise parts of BT HQ in London
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

The chief executive of BT Group has tested positive for COVID-19 days after attending an industry event where other telco bosses were present.

Philip Jansen tested positive for the virus on Thursday afternoon and is self-isolating, as advised by Public Health England, BT said.  

Jansen met executives from other mobile phone operators, including O2 CEO Mark Evans, Three CEO Dave Dyson and Vodafone boss Nick Read, in London on Monday.

The bosses and other industry leaders signed the government-backed deal that day to improve rural phone coverage, announced this week. 

BT told MailOnline that Jansen was in attendance with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden regarding the Shared Rural Network. 

O2 and Vodafone’s leaders are also self-isolating, the FT reports, although there has been no official word from either companies on their current health.  

In BT’s statement, Jansen said his symptoms seemed mild and he would work remotely over the coming week, avoiding disruption to BT’s business. Mr Jensen has led BT for just over a year

Jansen becomes the first publicly confirmed case of a FTSE 100 chief executive who has the virus, which has infected 125,000 and killed 4,600 people worldwide. 

The BT boss will now be working remotely as he continues his duties during his isolation period. 

‘Having felt slightly unwell I decided as a precaution to be tested,’ Mr Jansen said in a statement to the PA news agency. 

‘As soon as the test results were known I isolated myself at home.’

The BT boss said he decided to go public because he had attended the event earlier in the week.

All attendees are now being contacted and given further advice, BT said.

BT's HQ building on Newgate Street in London, which is reportedly undergoing a deep clean

BT’s HQ building on Newgate Street in London, which is reportedly undergoing a deep clean  

‘I’ve met several industry partners this week so felt it was the responsible thing to do to alert them to this fact as soon as I could,’ the 53-year-old CEO said. 

‘Given my symptoms seem relatively mild, I will continue to lead BT but work with my team remotely over the coming week. 

‘There will be no disruption to the business.’

Employees who have been in contact with the chief executive have been advised to self-isolate.

BT says it is now working with Public Health England to undertake a full deep clean of relevant parts of its headquarters on Newgate Street, central London. 

Mr Jansen has been chief executive of the telecoms group for just over a year.