Jun 8, 2018

Gavin Patterson to step down as BT chief after shareholder backlash

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson will step down later this year after concerns from shareholders over his suitability to lead the company through an ambitious restructuring. The UK telecoms group said on Friday it had already begun looking for the successor to Mr Patterson, who has led BT for the past five years. BT shares, which opened up 2.5 per cent on Friday morning, have been languishing around a six-year low despite bold plans announced by Mr Patterson last month to cut thousands of jobs and save £1.5bn. The shake-up was devised by consultants at McKinsey, but major investors had told the Financial Times they were unsure whether Mr Patterson was the right person to lead the overhaul of BT. BT chairman Jan du Plessis said on Friday that the board supported the new strategy but that "There is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy". BT has since scaled back its ambitions to become Britain's leading broadcaster of Premier League matches, having last year agreed with Sky that the two broadcasters will show each other's content from 2019. BT said it expected to have a chief executive to be "In place" during the second half of this year.

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