Sir Peter Bonfield, chief executive of BT, today announced that he had agreed with BT's board to stand down at the end of January 2002, almost a year before his contract actually expires.

Bonfield has been plagued with disasters throughout his term of employment including heavy criticism of the company's broadband rollout practices and internal disputes over the demerger of O2, BT's rebranded wireless division.

"This is the right time to announce a change. We have almost completed the very radical transformation programme which we started last year. The new BT group is well positioned for the future," said Bonfield.

Bonfield isn't the first BT fat cat to resign — Sir Iain Vallance quit his role as chairman back in May, as the 'conclusion of a break-up strategy'.

"We have begun to look for a successor to Sir Peter and this appointment will be announced in due course," said Christopher Bland, BT chairman.

But Sir Peter won't be short of a penny or two. BT said he would receive a £1.5m pay-off and nearly £300,000 in executive shares over the next three years.