CEO Gavin Patterson becomes one of the 13,000 redundancies due at BT

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Jun 8, 2018

via Flickr © Chatham House, London (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © Chatham House, London (CC BY 2.0)

  • Unfortunate series of events ensured Patterson’s demise
  • Latest results and share drop the final straw
  • Will leave on good terms in the second half of this year

BT’s CEO, Gavin Patterson, is to walk the plank following a string of nasty reversals over the past couple of years, culminating in BT’s recent gloomy results and its decision to cut thousands off the payroll and move the HQ out of central London. (see - BT turns in shrinking revenue results but promises major restructuring to turn things around)

BT’s failure to hit its revenue targets with no financial improvement in sight had sent its share price down to a five year low and had qualified the UK’s biggest telco to suffer the prefix “beleaguered” with every press mention.

Having a handsome face works well on the ‘up’, but being firmly branded as the ‘face of BT’ as it appears to go into decline is a killer. And it’s duly killed Gavin.

According to BT Chairman, Jan du Plessis, while 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.”

Gavin Patterson joined  BT 14 years and has been chief executive for nearly five years. Unfortunately for him, while he’s managed to steer BT through the launch of BT Sport (jury still out on that) and bought and integrated mobile operator EE (what could go wrong?) he’s also demonstrated what could be regarded as a lack of managerial grip as evidenced by BT’s Italian accounting scandal which broke at the beginning of last year (see - BT announces £530 million loss through accounting irregularities, heads to roll)

So a new face at the top (perhaps a grizzled old countenance this time?) is now deemed essential for righting the ship, and Gavin agrees.

Patterson will stay at the helm over the transition period and du Plessis says a search for his replacement is already under way (probably started just after the results were in). The new CEO will be announced in the second half of this year.

There appears to be no golden goodbye to keep Gavin on side as he works out his notice period and beyond. BT says he will continue to be paid on the same basis as disclosed in BT’s 2018 Annual Report, except that he will now not be receiving the 2018 Incentive Share Plan award.

When he steps down as Chief Executive, he will be treated as a “good leaver” and be paid strictly in accordance with the terms of his employment contract and BT’s remuneration policy, as approved by shareholders in 2017.

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