BT suffers shareholder revolt over ‘excessive’ pay

Anger over Gavin Patterson's pay
Anger over Gavin Patterson's pay

BT has suffered a shareholder rebellion over outgoing chief executive Gavin Patterson’s bumper £2.3 million pay packet.

A total of 34% of investors rejected the telecoms group’s remuneration report at its AGM in Edinburgh, which included the 2017 payout for Mr Patterson.

The £2.3m figure represents a £1m hike in his annual pay and was disclosed in May, just weeks after BT swung the axe on 13,000 jobs.

Mr Patterson was awarded a £1.3m annual bonus, a £997,000 basic salary and £299,000 in pension payments.

The AGM result will see BT placed on a public register of firms in which more than 20% of shareholders have revolted over a resolution.

Ahead of the meeting, several shareholder advisory groups - including ISS and Pirc - had urged investors to vote down the award.

Pirc branded the payout “excessive”, while highlighting several of BT’s failings.

It added: “The company’s recent poor share performance, the decision to cut 13,000 jobs in order to deal with losses, and the losses brought about by BT Italy’s accounting practices are not reflected in the CEO’s remuneration.”

The company has been dealing with the aftermath of an accounting scandal at its Italian division, which resulted in a £530m write-down and a major fall in its share price last year.

Last month BT announced that is to replace Mr Patterson later this year amid waning support for the company’s trajectory.

Mr Patterson’s departure will end a near-five year stint as chief executive, having been at BT for a total of 14 years.