BT chief steps down as board loses confidence


BT Group chief executive Gavin Patterson will step down later this year with a successor to be named soon after.

Patterson said 15 months ago that BT had been taken aback by the flak it had received about the company's customer service and its networks, and he vowed that its millions of customers would see improvements.

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 received a total of 2.3 million pounds ($3.1 million) in the year to the end of March, according to the company's annual report - basic pay of 997,000 pounds plus a 1.292 million pound bonus.

Since peaking at almost 500p in November 2015, BT's share price has steadily slid, and is now trading at near six-year lows.

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Mr Patterson has been at BT for 14 years, 10 of those as a board member.

This culminated in the May 2018 announcement that BT is to cut 13,000 jobs on top of a previously announced 4,000, as well as shutting down its City of London headquarters and embarking on a massive shake-up of its operating model.

"The expensive move into football rights was a mistake and evidence that management lacked focus under Patterson". However, it's been a different story over the last two years, ' he said.

During his tenure at BT, Patterson steered the organisation through a gruelling Ofcom Market Review that ultimately resulted in the legal separation of BT from its network infrastructure business Openreach.

BT's shares jumped 1.8% to 206.6p in early trading, in response to the news.

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

Patterson became managing director of BT's consumer division in 2004, prior to that he had been in charge of the nascent TV operation.

BT Group has announced the departure of chief executive Gavin Patterson.

Mr Patterson has been under pressure from investors to improve the company's stock performance, which has nearly halved over the last two years. Throughout that time I've been immensely proud of what we've achieved, in particular the transformation of the business in recent years with the launch of BT Sport, the purchase and integration of EE, and the agreement to create greater independence for Openreach.

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