Lord of the ringtones gets ready to reign By Sophie Barker
PERHAPS appropriately for someone
who began his career in Polyfilla, "solid" is how most observers describe Peter
Erskine, the former BT Cellnet boss who will find himself at the head of a FTSE
100 company later this year.
The Liverpool University graduate worked at Colgate Palmolive and then Mars
before deserting consumer goods to move into the nascent mobile phone sector.
He joined one of the original "personal communication networks"; it went on to
become One2One. Three years later he rang BT's number, moving into the mobile
phone division and eventually heading BT Cellnet.
Erskine is widely acknowledged to have injected some business nous into the
Although he failed to overtake Vodafone as the leading mobile network, Erskine
was behind the launch of Genie, the mobile internet service which is still ahead
of Vodafone's equivalent.
After eight years behind the scenes at the BT behemoth, Erskine has no public
profile to speak of. One observer commented that "he is a switched-on
businessman, but he's not going to set the world on fire". Hopefully he will
fill in a few cracks.