BT boss Gavin Patterson stepping down to quell shareholder frustrations

BT CEO steps down

BT CEO steps down

BT Group PLC (BT_A.L, BT.L) announced Friday that Chief Executive Gavin Patterson will be stepping down later in the year.

BT chairman Jan du Plessis said that while the board was generally supportive of the new strategy set out by Patterson and his team in May, given the reaction to it, both he and Patterson had now agreed only a leadership change could actually deliver on these plans.

Deutsche Telekom, BT's largest shareholder with a 12 per cent stake, has grown increasingly dissatisfied with Mr Patterson's performance over the past year, partly because of blunders like an accounting scandal in Italy, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The changeover comes just a month after BT announced plans to axe around 13,000 jobs and exit its BT headquarters in central London as part of a revamped cost-cutting drive meant to help save around £1.5 billion.

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Despite this, Mr Patterson managed to head off a threat to split BT's Openreach broadband division into a separate company.

The telco has begun the search for a replacement and Patterson will remain in post until a successor has been found, most likely in the second half of 2018.

Patterson said it had been "an honour" to lead BT.

But the victories were eclipsed by problems, led by a fraud had left a 530-million pound black hole in its Italian business. This was offset partly by hiring 6,000 new employees - including 3,500 engineers - to help implement BT's 3.7 billion pound investment in its 5G mobile services.

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Patterson was also embroiled in fractious talks with Britain's telecoms regulator Ofcom about the fate of Openreach, which runs the national broadband network.

Investors in BT Group Plc watched their investments shrink about 60 percent and decided it was enough.

He will continue in his role until the new boss is named.

The plan would save the former United Kingdom telecommunications monopoly an estimated £1.5 billion ($2 billion) over three years.

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But they said the incoming CEO would have to address the pace of rolling out full fibre networks, the BT Sport strategy, the future of its Global Services IT unit and how much of the 1.5 billion pounds of savings should be re-invested in the business.

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