BT chief executive Gavin Patterson will step down this year as chairman says there is 'a need for a change of leadership'

 
Rebecca Smith
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Gavin Patterson is stepping down (Source: Getty)

BT Group chief executive Gavin Patterson will step down at the end of the year, with a search now underway to find his successor.

The telecoms giant expects to have its next chief executive in place by the second half of the year, with Patterson continuing to serve as chief executive until then.

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Jan du Plessis, chairman of BT 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.

BT's chief executive has been in the spotlight of late, with reports that the company's chairman was holding a series of meetings with investors ahead of its annual general meeting over dissatisfaction with Patterson.

In May, Patterson unveiled a new strategy for the company, including cutting 13,000 jobs as BT aims to tackle fierce competition and cut costs. The jobs - mainly back office and middle management roles, two-thirds of which are UK-based - will be lost over the next three years.

The past year and a half hasn't been without some bumps, including an accounting scandal in Italy and a record £42m fine from Ofcom hitting shares.

Today, 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."

He added: "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."

Read more: BT boss tells City A.M.: Italian problems have not spread

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