BT CEO Ben Verwaayen gets a KBE

BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen has been made an honorary knight of the British Empire (KBE) by the Queen.

Verwaayen, who was appointed as chief executive of BT in 2002, was awarded the title in recognition of his services to the communications industry. He will receive his Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire from a cabinet minister early in the New Year.

Verwaayen joins an eminent group of business leaders from outside the UK who have been recognised with a KBE. These include Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, BP chairman Peter Sutherland, and Niall Fitzgerald of Reuters. Other non-nationals who have been honoured include film director Stephen Spielberg and former president George Bush senior.

Verwaayen said: “This is a fantastic tribute to everyone who has worked so hard to transform BT into a communication services company with a global reach and a bright future. I am extremely proud of what the team has achieved, and very excited about the opportunities that still lie ahead.”

BT chairman Sir Mike Rake said: “Ben has not just played a pivotal role in BT’s revival, he has been a driving force for change in the communications industry and beyond. He has helped create, in the UK, one of the world’s most vibrant broadband markets. He has been a powerful advocate for the benefits of free trade and globalisation, and has engaged in a series of critical public policy debates, including his recent chairmanship of the CBI Task Force on Climate Change.

“I congratulate Ben on his honorary knighthood. It is a proud moment for Ben and for everyone at BT.”