BT CEO Gavin Patterson steps down

BT CEO Gavin Patterson will leave his role later this year following shareholder discontent about the company’s performance and recent strategic changes.

Patterson stepped up to the top job in 2013, replacing Ian Livingston who joined the House of Lords, having been appointed as the managing director of BT Consumer back in 2004 and appointed to the board in 2008.

During his tenure, he oversaw the launch and expansion of BT Sport, the £12.5 billion acquisition of EE, and the separation of Openreach into an independent company.

All change at BT

However investors have been concerned by an accounting scandal and £530 million writedown at the Italian division of BT Global Services and the reaction to a restructuring last month.

This included job cuts and organisational changes that aimed to let BT to lead the market in 5G and converged networks, but BT’s share price dropped to a six year low.

The BT board says it is convinced this is still the right direction to take, but it wants someone else to take charge.

“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,” said Jan du Plessis, BT Chairman.

“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. I am confident that, for the remainder of his term, Gavin and his senior management team will continue to display the energy required to deal with every dimension of the task at hand.”

A search for Patterson’s successor has started and is expected to be in place by the second half of this year.

“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,” he said, adding it was an honour to lead the company.

“That, combined with the critical expansion of our superfast broadband network to 27m customers, and our stated ambition to reach 10m homes with ultrafast broadband by the mid-2020s have fundamentally repositioned the company. 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.”

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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.