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BT boss Gavin Patterson stepping down to quell shareholder frustrations

BT boss Gavin Patterson stepping down to quell shareholder frustrations

BT has this morning announced that Gavin Patterson, CEO of nearly five years, is to leave his role, with the market reaction to recent results cited as the reason for change.

Days later, the company revealed Patterson was paid £2.3 million (€2.6m) previous year, including a £1.3 million bonus.

"The Board is fully supportive of the strategy recently set out by Gavin and his team".

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.

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.

George Salmon, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said:"Perhaps fittingly, Gavin Patterson's tenure was very much a game of two halves".

But the subsequent decline in the share price showed investors were not on side. BT has lost 60% of its value since the end of 2015 while the FTSE 100 index - of which it is a member - has risen 20%. Declining earnings, a prolonged dispute with the telecom regulator over broadband rates, network coverage and control, as well as an accounting scandal in Italy kept piling on hurdles, until the executive's time was up.

"The broader reaction to our recent results announcement has. demonstrated to Gavin and me that there is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy", he said.

Mr Patterson became managing director of BT's consumer division in 2004.

Mr Patterson has been seeking to reboot BT since a profit warning early past year, and told investors last month that it will take until 2021 for a return to profit growth as the company reorganises. 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.

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