BT boss Gavin Patterson to step down

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson to leave at end of year

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson to leave at end of year

Chairman Jan du Plessis, who had backed Mr Patterson at last month's strategy update, yesterday said shareholders had convinced him the CEO's time was up, even as the board is still "fully supportive" of the business plan.

Patterson, who has run BT for nearly five years, announced 13,000 job cuts last month in an attempt to get to grips with a host of problems including intense competition, an underperforming IT services unit, a huge pension deficit and criticism of its broadband plans.

"The broader reaction to our recent results announcement has, though, demonstrated to Gavin and me that there is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy".

The subsequent revelation that BT paid Patterson £2.3m a year ago generated further negative PR, and at the start of June, it emerged that some BT shareholders were actively mobilising against him. The company said he would "not now be receiving the 2018 incentive share plan award", which was set out in the latest annual report. However, it's been a different story over the last two years.

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At the height of Patterson's tenure, BT stock reached a 15-year peak shortly after his record bet on U.K. Premier League soccer TV rights and the acquisition of British wireless venture EE from Deutsche Telekom AG and Orange SA.

Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at financial services firm Hargreaves Lansdown, noted that BT's share prices is at a six-year low, having since 2016 been "pretty much always on a downward trend and with a few nasty cliffs". The first and most important is the share price.

But the admission that fraud had left a 530-million pound black hole in its Italian business, combined with sharp slowdown in demand from public sector and corporate customers, forced the 50-year-old executive to cut profit targets in 2017.

Patterson said it had been "an honour" to lead BT.

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