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With BT chief executive Ben Verwaayen leaving at the end of this month, the Guardian looks back at the progress he has made.

Communications editor Richard Wray begins by asserting that it would have been unthinkable six years ago for someone to have anything positive to say about the broadband provider and its senior management team.

However, following the release of the company's first quarter results for 2008, spectators were shown a film hailing Verwaayen's work, with high praise coming from bosses at rival broadband firms Carphone Warehouse and Vodafone.

"You require good leaders to change large, complicated companies and Ben has done that ... we will as an industry miss your leadership," said Arun Sarin, chief executive at Vodafone, which uses the company's Wholesale service to connect its broadband customers.

Meanwhile, the boss of TalkTalk owners Carphone Warehouse Charles Dunstone suggested that while he had tried to make Verwaayen's life difficult with offers like the free laptop deal for broadband subscribers, he had always played fair.

BT's recently-released results showed that it is still the nation's biggest broadband supplier, with 4.4 million customers using its services.

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