BT CEO to step down

Gavin Patterson chief executive of BT

Image Gavin Patterson to step down as BT chief executive

BT has this morning announced that Gavin Patterson, CEO of nearly five years, is to leave his role, with the market reaction to recent results cited as the reason for change.

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 company has been reeling from an accounting scandal in Italy past year and has spent billions on buying football rights to attract customers to its pay-TV channels.

The process to appoint a successor is already underway with BT confident it will be in a position to announce a replacement over the coming months as it readies for a period of significant change.

Patterson added: "It's been an honour to lead BT since 2013 and serve as a member of the board for the last ten years".

"The new chief executive is expected to start later this year, and with the shares at a six-year low, steadying the ship will be their first task".

Patterson said: "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".

Deutsche Telekom, BT's largest shareholder with a 12 per cent stake, has grown increasingly dissatisfied with Mr Patterson's performance over the past year, partly because of blunders like an accounting scandal in Italy, according to a person familiar with the situation.

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.

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".

Since Patterson took over the reins in 2013, BT's share price has fallen by 41%.

BT shares were broadly flat in early deals at 203.2p.

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

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.

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