BT Group chief executive to step down

11 June, 2018, 07:41 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • BT CEO Gavin Patterson to leave company following investor kickback

"The Board is fully supportive of the strategy recently set out by Gavin and his team".

"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", he said.

The subsequent revelation that BT paid Patterson £2.3m previous year generated further negative PR, and at the start of June, it emerged that some BT shareholders were actively mobilising against him. The firm has faced endless criticism for its handling of the UK's broadband infrastructure through its Openreach division too, although Patterson managed to avoid a full break-up of the two companies.

Gavin Patterson has been at BT for 13 years and spent the last decade on its board, which intends to replace him in the second half of 2018.

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.

Analysts at Bernstein said it was no secret that Patterson was under huge pressure, but added that the timing of the announcement was "highly puzzling and worrying".

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In January last year, BT wrote down the value of its Italian unit by £530m after it said it had uncovered years of "inappropriate behaviour". After his departure was announced, the shares were up by 1.2 percent.

But a failure to hit a revenue target and a forecast for flat profits for the next couple of years sent its shares down to near six-year lows.

Mr Patterson will stay in his role until that time.

Analysts at UBS said the fact that the board supported the strategy suggested no significant strategic changes.

Patterson, who has led BT since 2013, announced plans last month to cut 13,000 jobs as part of a restructuring created to simplify the group's management structure. He was appointed chief executive of the BT Group in 2013.

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