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BT boss to step down as support starts to wane

PUBLISHED: 09:13 08 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:15 08 June 2018

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson who, the company has announced, will be stepping down later this year Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson who, the company has announced, will be stepping down later this year Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

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

The telecoms giant, which has a research and development base at Martlesham, near Ipswich, said it has launched a search for his replacement and expects to have a successor in place during the second half of the year.

Mr Patterson will stay in his role until that time.

BT chairman Jan du Plessis said that while Mr Patterson had the backing of the board, wider support was starting to wane.

“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 added: “To that end, a number of concrete initiatives have already been launched and Gavin’s commitment to continue to lead the business during this transition phase will provide invaluable continuity.

“While BT is a very demanding business, with multiple stakeholders, we do have significant opportunities ahead of us.”

Mr Patterson’s departure will end a near-five year stint as chief executive, having been at BT for a total of 14 years.

The changeover comes just a month after BT announced plans to axe around 13,000 jobs and exit its BT headquarters in central London as part of a revamped cost-cutting drive meant to help save around £1.5bn.

That strategy update was released alongside full-year results which showed a 1% drop in revenue to £23.7bn, through reported pre-tax profits rose 11% to £2.6bn.

It booked a £241m restructuring charge over the period, and spent around £22m on professional costs relating to the investigation into its Italian business.

The company has been dealing with the aftermath of an accounting scandal at its Italian division, which resulted in a £530m write-down and a major fall in its share price last year.

BT’s share price has fallen around 14% over the past four weeks alone.

Outgoing chief executive Mr Patterson said he was “immensely proud” of what the company has achieved, citing the launch of BT sport, its acquisition of EE and the agreement for a more independent Openreach.

“BT is a great business and, with the new management team I’ve recently put in place, is, I believe, very well positioned to thrive in the future,” he said.

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