Vodafone CEO steps down after a decade as profits return

May 15, 2018, 22:18
Vodafone CEO steps down after a decade as profits return

Vodafone has announced that Nick Read, now the group's CFO, will succeed Vittorio Colao has the group's chief executive on October 1.

At the company's annual general meeting in July, deputy chief financial officer Marghertia Della Valle will take over as chief financial officer, with Read becoming group chief executive-designate.

Analysts said the timing of the departure should come as no surprise and that investors should be reassured by Read's appointment due to his experience running its British operations and the emerging market assets. The telco credits Colao with transforming Vodafone "from a consumer-focused 2G/3G mobile operator to one of the world's leading converged communications companies". The merger announced a year ago of Vodafone's unit in India with Idea, created to let the two combat a raging price war in the world's second-largest mobile-phone market, is also awaiting final approvals.

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The Board of global telco Vodafone Group has revealed the succession plan for the role of Group Chief Executive. He joined Vodafone in 2001 as Vodafone UK Finance Director before being appointed Vodafone UK Chief Commercial Officer then Vodafone UK CEO. She was previously Group Chief Financial Controller, Chief Financial Officer for the Europe region, and Chief Financial Officer for Vodafone Italy.

Revenue fell 2.2 per cent to £46.5 billion compared to previous year, due to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands and fluctuating currency rates.

Vodafone group chairman Gerard Kleisterlee praised Mr Colao's "outstanding tenure" at the top of the FTSE 100 firm. He has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone.

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Vodafone also announced full-year results for the period ending 31 March 2018.

After all, medium-term financial results are only part of corporate success, with vision and strategy providing an equally (some say more) important other side of the coin.

Excluding the negative impact of net roaming declines in Europe, the benefits of settlements in the United Kingdom and Germany and the introduction of handset financing in the United Kingdom, organic adjusted EBITDA grew by 7.9%. That is impressive given how much fierce competition, regulation and the growth of messaging services such as Facebook's WhatsApp have dragged on Vodafone and peers in the past decade.

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The announcement comes less than a week after Vodafone unveiled a deal to turn it into Europe's largest cable and broadband operator by buying assets from US peer Liberty Global.