BT chief executive to step down this year

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson to leave at end of year

BT Group chief executive Gavin Patterson will step down later this year with a successor to be named soon after.

Mr Patterson expanded BT beyond its core business by investing in its TV arm and buying football broadcast rights.

Patterson said 15 months ago that BT had been taken aback by the flak it had received about the company's customer service and its networks, and he vowed that its millions of customers would see improvements.

"I've been immensely proud of what we've achieved, in particular the transformation of the business in recent years with the launch of BT Sport, the purchase and integration of EE, and the agreement to create greater independence for Openreach", he said, adding it was an honour to lead the company.

The company has been dealing with the aftermath of an accounting scandal at its Italian division, which resulted in a £530 million write-down and a major fall in its share price a year ago.

Gavin Patterson, who was appointed to the role 2013 and has served on the board for ten years, will continue to serve until a replacement is lined up.

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.

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The fact that Openreach is still owned by BT and has avoided being spun-out is also a boon for the firm. However, it's been a different story over the last two years.

Following the news of Mr Patterson's departure, BT's shares jumped 3% initially, before dropping back to trade at about 202p.

"I am confident that, for the remainder of his term, Gavin and his senior management team will continue to display the energy required to deal with every dimension of the task at hand", he said. The first and most important is the share price.

Since Patterson took over the reins in 2013, BT's share price has fallen by 41%.

Under increasing pressure, Patterson announced a radical plan to cut job and save 1.5 billion pounds a year by 2020/21 last month.

"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", he said.

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