Gavin Patterson is out as BT CEO

10 June, 2018, 10:28 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • BT chief executive Gavin Patterson to leave at end of year

BT is to replace chief executive Gavin Patterson later this year amid waning support for the company's trajectory.

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

Jan du Plessis, chairman of BT, thanked Patterson for his contribution but said the company needed a change in leadership.

"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 company said he would "not now be receiving the 2018 incentive share plan award", which was set out in the latest annual report.

The plan was met with a backlash from investors, who likely were still reeling from last year's Italian accounting scandal that saw the firm write off £530m, and forced Patterson to relinquish his bonus.

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".

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However, the decline in the company's shares continued, and a plan announced last month to save 1.5 billion pounds a year by 2020/21 failed to impress investors, putting Patterson under ever increasing pressure.

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

Patterson's exit also follows major restructuring at BT.

Under Patterson's leadership, though, the FTSE 100 group has stumbled from one issue to another over the past 18 months or so, during which time its share price has nearly halved.

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

Patterson became managing director of BT's consumer division in 2004, prior to that he had been in charge of the nascent TV operation. He rose to the position of CEO of BT Retail before becoming group CEO in 2013, after his predecessor Ian Livingston left to become a government minister. 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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