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BT shareholders mobilising as disquiet with CEO grows

BT shareholders have reportedly asked to meet the UK telecom operator’s chairman over concerns about the company’s leadership under CEO Gavin Patterson.

BT CEO Gavin Patterson

According to the Financial Times, investors have asked for meetings with Jan du Plessis to discuss Patterson’s future after a series of reverses led to a long decline in BT’s share price this year. The telco’s shares are currently trading at just over 200p having fallen from around 270p at the start of the year. BT shares were trading as high as 486p at the start of 2016.

The FT cited five unnamed shareholders among BT’s top 20 investors who expressed strong concerns about Patterson’s stewardship.

Among recent problems experienced by the operator are an accounting scandal in Italy and declining wholesale revenues.

Investors contacted by the FT also expressed concern about frequent changes in BT’s strategic direction, poor relations with regualtorss over investment in fibre and the structure of the busi9ness, and BT’s high spending on premium sports rights.

After growth in the company’s TV base slowed to a crawl, BT lost TV subscribers in the last two quarters as competition from rival players took its toll.

The company recently unveiled a new convergence-based strategy and a revamp of its TV offering with the inclusion of Amazon Prime Video as part of its offering under BT consumer chief Marc Allera.