BT chief steps down as board loses confidence

Gavin Patterson chief executive of BT

Gavin Patterson chief executive of BT

BT Group's Chief Executive Gavin Patterson will step down later this year after the British telecoms company's chairman said a change in leadership was needed.

BT said Mr Patterson, who has led the firm for five years, would remain in his post until a successor is chosen later this year.

"The expensive move into football rights was a mistake and evidence that management lacked focus under Patterson".

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

BT said it would name a successor in the second half of the year.

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.


With its share price at a six-year low, the telecoms giant is looking to cut back its management positions and "consolidate in key towns" to reduce costs by £1.5 billion.

BT shares rose more than 2% in early trading.

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.

Unfortunately, Patterson also presided over the ongoing problems at BT Global Services - the organisation's IT services organisation that has long weighed heavily on the group's bottom line - and the fall-out from a major accounting scandal at its Italian operation also damaged him, as did the widening deficit in BT's pension plan.

Shareholder confidence has followed the share price down, and with BT embarking on a crucial restructure, the board has decided it's time for a change. However, it's been a different story over the last two years, ' he said.

When you devise a strategy which has the "full support" of the board then you expect that you will be around to execute it. Gavin Patterson's departure is unusual in the sense that the board liked his plan, but didn't think he was the person to carry it out. 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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