Gavin Patterson to leave Love Island so search for replacement underway
Gavin Patterson has worked for BT for over 14 years, with ten years on the board and almost five years as the CEO of what must rank as one of the most challenging periods in its history. The news today is that he will be stepping down and a successor is expected to be in place during the second half of the year.
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. That, combined with the critical expansion of our superfast broadband network to 27m customers, and our stated ambition to reach 10m homes with ultrafast broadband by the mid-2020s have fundamentally repositioned the company. 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.Chief Executive of BT, Gavin Patterson
On the ultrafast figures, our understanding was that we are expecting totals of 10 million premises of G.fast and 3 million of FTTP to be reached at some point in 2020 and there is an ambition to extend the FTTP footprint to some 10 million premises by 2025 given the right market and regulatory conditions. It should be pointed out that getting G.fast means you are unlikely to see FTTP at least before 2025, though since G.fast does not reach all premises on a cabinet it may be deployed to fill the gaps at the boundaries of cabinets in urban areas possibly.
The fate of BT has seen lots of ups and downs but even though the three million FTTP should mean BT has the largest FTTP footprint still in 2020 and if the ten million is realised they will be the largest operator still in 2025 this expression of full fibre interest in the last year has done little to improve the share price which has steadily decreased since 2016.
The problems with BT Global Services have not helped and a good number of people view the costs of BT Sport as a waste of money and now Amazon has grabbed a chunk of football matches any future rights bidding is going to be a three horse race between Sky, BT and Amazon. Other pressures such as CityFibre now getting an ever larger foot into the council networks across the UK is another long term challenge but one that is very hard to fight when the new entrant is smaller and more agile without the regulatory yoke and the ball and chain of pension debt.
The challenge for the successor is to turn around the decline of the share price while at the same time spending lots of money and labour to deliver the full fibre vision. All this at a time when the average UK consumer sees broadband as just another utility bill and wants to pay as little as possible, but at the same wants the connection to behave as the best broadband on the planet. The Internet and broadband is often mentioned as the cause of the downturn for many High Street stores, but this is not just the result online shopping becoming more popular, but the public struggling and looking harder and harder for the bargains i.e. the economy appears to be still be on a knife edge with many people putting on a good show when needed.