Gavin Patterson to leave BT as firm swings axe at 13,000 staff

Telecoms giant admits change is necessary after disappointing financials


BT's boss Gavin Patterson is set to step down from his role as chief executive following disappointing financial results, with BT saying "there is a need for a change of leadership".

The telco outlined plans last week to cut 13,000 jobs amid other stringent measures to reduce costs by 1.5 billion, while also planning to recruit an additional 6,000 employees to help with its network deployment and customer service initiatives.

 "Gavin has been with BT for just over 14 years and I want to thank him for his contribution to our business during that time, in particular during the almost five years that he has served as chief executive," Jan du Plessis, chairman of BT, said in a statement.

"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."

As part of this management shift, BT will also develop new initiatives for growth and du Plessis added that Patterson will be key in beginning this transition, handing the business over to his successor, who is yet to be announced.

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"It's been an honour to lead BT since 2013, and serve as a member of the board for the last 10 years," Patterson said. "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."

The outgoing CEO will not receive the 3.5 million he would be due from the 2018 incentive share plan now he is leaving.

BT's latest results show revenue is down 3% for the quarter and 1% for the financial year, and the company predicted a revenue drop of 2% for 2018-19.

However, under Patterson BT has achieved a significant amount since he took over as CEO in 2013. The company returned to the mobile phone market, taking over EE's business for 12.5 billion, as well as launching BT Sport.

But it was also forced to spin off Openreach as a separate company to give its network deployment arm more independence. 

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It also received a 42 million fine from regulator Ofcom when it failed to roll out high-speed broadband fast enough and suffered from an accounting scandal that involved the company's Italian subsidiary that cost the company 225 million.

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