As the face of BT's past, Gavin Patterson cannot be the face of BT's future. The BT CEO will exit during the second half of the year -- a move needed to deliver on BT's new strategy, according to the British provider's board.
Patterson has been with BT for almost 14 years, spending about a decade on the board and being named CEO in 2013. Over that period, he's grappled with ever increasing demand for high-speed broadband, fiber deployments, evolving capabilities of Gfast, regulatory issues, Openreach's role and the relationship between BT and Brexit. BT also faces growing competition from mobile operators to over-the-top providers, from enterprise-facing managed services to security consultants.
"After a challenging prior year, our focus was on disciplined delivery and risk reduction. In my view, we achieved this and at the same time, we have evolved our strategy around leadership and converged connectivity and services," Patterson said during BT's fourth-quarter earnings call. "Our strategic priorities are to deliver differentiated customer experiences; invest in integrated network leadership; and transform our operating model to become a leaner, more agile organization and able to take advantage of market opportunities."
Patterson, however, won't lead that charge.
"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," said Jan du Plessis, chairman of BT, in a statement.
If the board does not find a new CEO by mid-2018, Patterson has agreed to stay on until the position is filled, according to BT.
"…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," Patterson said in the press release. "That, combined with the critical expansion of our superfast broadband network to 27 million customers, and our stated ambition to reach 10 million homes with ultrafast broadband by the mid-2020s, have fundamentally repositioned the company."
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