The company is looking for a new boss less than a month after Patterson unveiled a £1.5billion cost-saving which will see it shed 13,000 jobs and move out of its central London headquarters.
Shares have hit a six-year low with investors told to expect lower revenue and no increase in dividend payouts for the next two years. Chairman Jan du Plessis said: “The broader reaction to our recent results has demonstrated to Gavin and me a need for a change of leadership.”
BT expects to have a replacement by next year, with 50-year-old Patterson, who joined the company 14 years ago, leading during the transition.
Patterson, paid £2.3million last year including a £1.3million bonus, said the firm had been “transformed” over recent years, with the launch of BT Sport, the £12.5billion acquisition of mobile operator EE and the agreement to create greater independence for Openreach.
He added: “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 we have fundamentally repositioned the company. It is very well positioned to thrive in the future.”
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst George Salmon described Patterson’s tenure as “a game of two halves”, with shares initially rising as it acquired EE and boosted its sports coverage, but recently on the slide following an accounting scandal in Italy and strained relations with Ofcom.
Dave Millett, of telecoms brokerage Equinox, said: “His tenure has seen UK’s telecoms infrastructure lag further and further behind Europe and the rest of the world, and instead of addressing that BT has focused on TV and Sport coverage – forgetting they are primarily a telecoms business.
“His replacement needs to get a grip on the business division which has fallen faster than the rest and be more aggressive with fibre infrastructure rollout.
“This is what the UK’s businesses need to compete – and if the Government’s ‘digital Britain’ vision is to be realised.”