Gavin Patterson is out as BT CEO

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BT CEO Gavin Patterson will leave his role later this year following shareholder discontent about the company's performance and recent strategic changes.

Chairman Jan du Plessis said the board was fully supportive of Patterson's strategy but that a new leader was needed.

Jan du Plessis, Chairman of BT said: "Gavin has been with BT for just over 14 years and I want to thank him for his contribution to our business during that time, in particular during the nearly five years that he has served as Chief Executive".

With its share price at a six-year low, the telecoms giant is looking to cut back its management positions and "consolidate in key towns" to reduce costs by £1.5 billion. After Friday's announcement, the shares rose by 2.5 percent.

Patterson said the company was well placed for the future.

The BT board says it is convinced this is still the right direction to take, but it wants someone else to take charge.

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Consumer boss Marc Allera would be another possible replacement, having set out plans last month to improve the BT brand.

Patterson, who has led BT for nearly five years, announced 13,000 job cuts last month in an attempt to address multiple pressures on the business.

The scandal, which came at the same time as a sharp slowdown in demand from public sector and corporate customers, forced the 50-year-old executive to cut profit targets in 2017. This was offset partly by hiring 6,000 new employees - including 3,500 engineers - to help implement BT's 3.7 billion pound investment in its 5G mobile services. He was appointed chief executive of the BT Group in 2013.

The plan would save the former United Kingdom telecommunications monopoly an estimated £1.5 billion ($2 billion) over three years. The first and most important is the share price.

Analysts at UBS said the fact that the board supported the strategy suggested no significant strategic changes.