Livingston hangs up after five years at BT helm

Ian Livingston to become a government trade minister. Picture: PA
Ian Livingston to become a government trade minister. Picture: PA
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The Scots-born former boss of BT will walk away from the telecoms giant with a £9 million pay-off to take up his new job as a UK government minister.

Ian Livingston will receive a “reward for success” of about 2.6 million shares from deferred annual bonuses and long-term incentive schemes.

BT said the bonuses reflected the “major contribution” he has made to the group’s turnaround in recent years. Shares have hit a 12-year high in recent days, valuing Livingston’s payoff at £8.9m.

Livingston, who was replaced by Gavin Patterson earlier this month, was named in July as David Cameron’s trade minister. He joined the Lords as a Conservative life peer, with the title Lord Livingston of Parkhead.

He takes over from former HSBC chairman Lord Green in the role and begins the unpaid government post in December.

Sir Michael Rake, chairman of the telecoms group, said: “Ian has done a wonderful job for BT and so this is clearly reward for success. BT is a far healthier company than it was when he took over as chief executive.”

Livingston joined BT as finance director in 2002. He took over as chief executive of BT retail in 2005 and became the group’s boss in June 2008.

He earned £8.5m in the last financial year and his pay-off includes 1.8 million of deferred bonus shares, along with about 800,000 shares from a long-term incentive plan, but BT said he will forego up to 2.5 million shares by leaving the group.

Patterson will earn a £925,000 basic salary, but could be entitled to a maximum annual payout of £6.8m through bonuses and long-term share incentives.