BT suffers shareholder backlash over bumper CEO pay

Patterson's departure will end a near-five year stint as CEO. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Patterson's departure will end a near-five year stint as CEO. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire
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BT has suffered a shareholder rebellion over outgoing chief executive Gavin Patterson’s bumper £2.3 million pay packet.

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

Patterson trousered 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 per cent of shareholders have revolted over a resolution.

Ahead of the meeting at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 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.”

BT 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.