TalkTalk to appoint James Smith as CFO


TalkTalk is to appoint James Smith as its new Chief Financial Officer.

James has extensive experience in equity and debt financing, and in leading merger and acquisition transactions in regulated and infrastructure-led industries.

He will join the business in the coming months, after nine years as CFO at the FTSE 250 listed Capricorn Energy, and an extensive career before that in investment banking at Rothschild and Merrill Lynch.

James will take on the role from Jonathan Thackray who leaves TalkTalk after nine years covering several finance roles, latterly as CFO.

Tristia Harrison, CEO of TalkTalk Group, said:

“We’re delighted to be welcoming James’s expertise to the TalkTalk team. Our focus on full fibre is resolute and the country has never needed affordable, reliable connectivity more. We look forward to continued strong performance, with the highest-growing wholesale business in the UK and a unique supplier base spanning both Openreach and a number of altnets. The business has gone from strength to strength following our acquisition of wholesale platform Virtual1 as well as the consumer bases Origin, SSE Phone and Broadband and taking a major stake in Telecom Acquisitions Ltd.”

James Smith, incoming CFO of TalkTalk Group, said:

“I’m looking forward to joining such a unique and trailblazing business. Twenty years challenging the incumbent and delivering the most essential service at great value is a strong record. The combination of a high-growth wholesale platform with a successful direct consumer and business division is unique in the sector and an exciting place to be.”

The appointment accompanies a number of leadership changes at TalkTalk and a streamlined structure to focus on its delivery of affordable full fibre across the UK.

Current Managing Director of Supply and Partnerships, Adam Dunlop will also take on leadership of the Direct division, selling directly to 2.5m businesses and consumers. As the former Managing Director of iD Mobile, the challenger value consumer brand, Adam brings a wealth of experience to the role, as well as his recent leadership of the Supply & Partnerships function, negotiating with TalkTalk’s suppliers such as Openreach as well as alternative networks such as CityFibre and Community Fibre. Adam will take on the Direct role following the departure of Jonathan Kini, who has decided to leave the business and will take on a new role in Private Equity in April.

The executive committee will also be bolstered by the addition of two existing leaders from the business. Susie Buckridge, Group Product, Data and Analytics Director, will lead both the Group Product and Insight and Analytics teams. Susie joined TalkTalk from TV platform YouView, where she was CEO. Prior to that Susie led various strategic programmes at the BBC as Head of Strategy for the Technology division.

Lucy Thomas, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director will also join the executive committee after three years leading communications, policy, regulation, CSR and North West Engagement. Prior to joining TalkTalk, Lucy was a senior director in a global communications agency, following a career as a BBC journalist and political campaign director.