BT announced CEO Gavin Patterson (pictured) will leave the company in the second half of the year, months after unveiling aggressive cost-cutting measures and slashing 13,000 jobs.
The operator confirmed its chief would depart after a successor had been found, adding the change had come as a direct result of the reaction to the sweeping company reorganisation announced in its annual results in May.
Earlier this week reports emerged suggesting shareholder confidence in the executive was waning, with representatives from five of the company’s top 20 investors voicing reservations on Patterson’s abilities to continue leading the operator.
In a statement, BT chairman Jan du Plessis 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 has been in charge at the company since 2013 and BT has undergone significant change under his leadership.
In 2016 BT completed the acquisition of mobile operator EE, marking the company’s first significant move in mobile since it sold O2 to Telefonica in 2006. It also launched an assault on the broadcast market with the launch of BT Sport.
However, Patterson’s tenure was also plagued by quarrels with regulators, controversies and cost cuts. In early 2017 accounting irregularities in its Italian business lead to its share price dipping to its lowest level in five years.
After years of rows with authorities and a number of fines related to the unit, the company finally agreed to spin-off wholesale network Openreach in 2017.
Prior to joining BT, Patterson worked in the media and marketing sectors. He is currently the president of UK trade body the Advertising Association and previously worked as European head of marketing for haircare products at consumer goods company Procter & Gamble.