Gavin Patterson will stand down as the chief executive of BT by the end of the end of 2018 after five years in charge.
Chairman Jan du Plessis, who had backed Mr Patterson at last month's strategy update, yesterday said shareholders had convinced him the CEO's time was up, even as the board is still "fully supportive" of the business plan.
However, he added: "The broader reaction to our recent results announcement has, though, demonstrated to Gavin and me that there is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy".
The process to appoint a successor is already underway with BT confident it will be in a position to announce a replacement over the coming months as it readies for a period of significant change.
He said: "It's been an honour to lead BT since 2013, and serve as a member of the board for the last 10 years".
The company has been dealing with the aftermath of an accounting scandal at its Italian division, which resulted in a £530 million write-down and a major fall in its share price previous year.
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Patterson won plaudits when he took BT into TV sports, going had-to-head with rival Sky in Premier League soccer rights, and back into mobile by buying market leader EE, sending shares to a 14-year high in 2015.
During his tenure, Patterson saw the firm through several hard spots, most recently an Italian accounting scandal and skirmishes with telecoms regulator Ofcom. However, it's been a different story over the last two years, ' he said.
At the same time, Patterson was embroiled in fractious talks with Britain's telecoms regulator Ofcom about the fate of Openreach, which runs the national broadband network. He was appointed chief executive of the BT Group in 2013. As part of a three-year plan aimed at reversing the firm's downward spiral and to save 1.5 billion pounds, BT planned cut 13,000 managerial and administrative jobs.
When you devise a strategy which has the "full support" of the board then you expect that you will be around to execute it. Gavin Patterson's departure is unusual in the sense that the board liked his plan, but didn't think he was the person to carry it out.