BT Group’s (LON:BT.A) chief executive Gavin Patterson is set to step down later this year, the blue-chip company has said. The news follows a recent report that Patterson, who has been at the helm of former telecoms monopoly for just under five years, was facing investor backlash, with shareholders having called for meetings with the company’s chairman to discuss his future.
BT’s share price has been little changed in London this morning, having inched 0.12 percent higher to 203.20p as of 08:55 BST. The shares, however, are outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having fallen into the red and currently standing 0.71 percent lower at 7,649.74 points.
Gavin Patterson to step down
BT announced in a statement this morning that its chief executive Gavin Patterson will be stepping down later in the year and that the board has commenced a search to identify his successor. The telco expects to have a successor in place during the second half of the year.
“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,” the group’s chairman Jan du Plessis commented in the statement, adding that while the board was ‘fully supportive’ of Patterson’s recent strategy, the broader reaction to the telco’s recent results had “demonstrated to Gavin and me that there is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy”.
Not a big surprise
James Ratzer, an analyst at New Street research, told Bloomberg by phone that Patterson’s departure “did not come as an enormous surprise, he’s had a rough run of luck over the years and I think it was clear that shareholders are looking for a fresh start”.
“It’s not clear to me that any new incoming CEO is actually going to be able to do things very differently, but the key issue is they need to resolve the fibre-to-the-home debate with the government,” the analyst pointed out.