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August 14, 2017

Top investor calls for BT CEO to step down

An unnamed majority shareholder points the finger of blame at Gavin Patterson.

By Ellie Burns

An anonymous investor has called for BT CEO Gavin Patterson to step down following a number of very public issues that have blighted the telco giant.

Earlier this year BT’s share price plummeted following an accounting scandal in Italy, with the firm struggling to recoup the £8bn wiped off its value.

The British telecommunications giant also had a run in with Deutsche Telekom and Orange over the scandal, with BT shelling out £225m to avoid a lengthy court battle and seeing profits decrease a huge 40% in its last quarter as a result of the payout.

Top investor calls for BT CEO to step down

GAvin Patterson, BT CEO

The fallout from the Italian accounting scandal, as well as other incidents such as the record £342m fine meted out over the failure to compensate Ethernet customers, has caused one shareholder to point the finger of blame at Patterson.

Speaking to The Telegraph, the unnamed majority shareholder said:

“With the benefit of hindsight, Gavin Patterson was not the right man for the job.”

“Few of us said so at the time but it has shown to be the case. What BT actually needed was a guy who could take on the regulator, not a retailer and marketer.

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“A lot of what has gone wrong has not been Gavin’s fault, but we’d like to see progress on a process and new leadership in the next year.”

The investor, who is reported to have a stake in BT numbering into the hundreds of millions, said that the next BT chief should be “an external candidate with a regulatory and preferably also an engineering background.”

BT was quick to hit back at the anonymous investor, saying that 98.5% of votes cast at its Annual General Meeting supported the reappointment of Patterson as CEO.


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