Outgoing BT CEO delivers positive final results

Outgoing BT CEO Gavin Patterson says he is handing over the reins to a business with “good momentum” behind it following better than expected figures for Q3.

Delivering his final set of results before stepping down as CEO tomorrow, Patterson revealed strong progress in rolling out ultrafast broadband and reiterated the wider group’s plans for launching 5G later this year.

Openreach has now covered 1.7 million premises with G.Fast, which speeds up copper connections, and 900,000 with Fibre to the Premise (FTTP). More than 2.6 million properties can now receive ultrafast services, bringing BT closer to its target of 5.7 million by the end of the decade. Meanwhile 5G will go live in parts of 16 cities in 2019.

BT Q3 results

But investors will be pleased at quarterly revenues of £5.98 billion – down one per cent – as continued growth in its consumer division offset declines elsewhere. Earnings fell by three per cent to £1.88 billion, but both these figures were more than what was expected.

“We have continued to deliver consistently against our strategic objectives in a tough market, resulting in another sound quarter of operational and financial performance,” declared Patterson. “I am handing over the business with good momentum behind its ongoing transformation programme and wish my colleagues all the best for the future.”

Patterson’s handover marks the end of 15 years’ service to the company. He assumed the role of chief executive in 2013 and oversaw the launch of BT Sport and the £12.5 billion acquisition of EE.

However, an accounting scandal at BT Global Services’ (BTGS) Italian division, declining business revenues and spats with regulator Ofcom were regarded as contributing factors to his departure.

His successor, former Worldpay co-CEO Phillip Jansen, has spent the past month working alongside Patterson in order to get to grips with the business. He formally assumes control tomorrow, tasked with implementing Patterson’s restructuring of the company, including job cuts, and the launch of new network services.

There’s also the issue of Brexit, although BT says it has contingency plans for the event of a ‘no-deal’ that will focus on delivering uninterrupted services to customers and to ensure it is able to transfer data to and from the EU.

It does however admit there could be a damaging impact on consumer and business confidence, the extent of which is difficult to predict.

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.