BT CHIEF EXECUTIVE Gavin Patterson is to leave the telecoms giant following a negative reaction to his recent cost-cutting plans to axe 13,000 jobs at the company.
Patterson, who has been at BT for more than 14 years and became CEO in 2013, will step down from his role later this year. BT said in a statement on Friday that it has already started the search for his replacement, noting that Patterson will remain in charge of the company until a successor is found.
The move comes just weeks after Patterson announced a major restructuring plan which would see BT move out of its London HQ after 150 after three years and 13,000 employees, or around 13 per cent of BT's global workforce, axed over the next three years in a bid to cut costs amid tumbling revenues.
The plan was met with a backlash from investors, who likely were still reeling from last year's Italian accounting scandal that saw the firm write off £530m, and forced Patterson to relinquish his bonus.
Under Patterson's tenure, BT has also faced a record £42m fine from Ofcom for a 'serious breach' of the rules governing the provision of Ethernet services to other telecoms companies. The firm has faced endless criticism for its handling of the UK's broadband infrastructure through its Openreach division too, although Patterson managed to avoid a full break-up of the two companies.
In a statement on Friday, BT chair Jan du Plessis, who supported Patterson's restructuring plans, said: "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.
Patterson said: "It's been an honour to lead BT since 2013 and serve as a member of the board for the last 10 years. Throughout that time 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.
"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." µ
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