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BT to raise base salary for chief executive for first time since Italy accounting scandal

BT's boss said fiscal 2018 was a "challenging year" but the company delivered on its strategy
BT reported a 2% drop in 2018 earnings and downgraded its outlook for 2019

BT Group PLC (LON:BT.A) has recommended a pay rise for chief executive Gavin Patterson for the first time since the telecoms giant was rocked by an accounting scandal at the group’s Italian arm.

Patterson received an increase in his base salary in 2016 but since then, it has remained at £996,825.

BT decided to leave Patterson’s base salary unchanged in 2017 but cut his overall pay, including bonus, by £4mln to £1.34mln after an accounting disaster at the group's Italian arm battered its finances and prompted a plunge in its share price. 

For 2018, Patterson received the same basic salary, although he was handed a bonus of £1.29mln that brought his total take-home pay to £2.31mln.

In the company's annual financial report on Thursday, BT said Patterson will receive a 2.5% increase in his base salary to £1.02mln for fiscal year 2019 to be applied in June.

BT also said chief financial officer Simon Lowth will receive a 2.5% increase in his base salary to £717,500.

READ: BT investors 'need to be patient', says Berenberg as it keeps 'buy' rating but cuts target price

The recommended pay increases for the executives comes despite BT reporting a 2% drop in 2018 earnings and downgrading its outlook for 2019. 

Patterson said in Thursday’s report that BT’s results were broadly in line with expectations and was “optimistic” about the company’s future.

“In a challenging year we have delivered on our strategy, made important investments for the marketplace, and made great improvements to the experience we deliver to our customers,” he said.

“We will accelerate our transformation with a three-year plan and I remain tremendously optimistic about the future for our company and its stakeholders.”

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