Thursday, 24 May, 2018

Vodafone CEO steps down after a decade as profits return

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao to leave after a decade in charge Image Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao to leave after a decade in charge
Russell Knight | 15 May, 2018, 15:03

Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) said chief executive Vittorio Colao is to step down in October as the telecoms giant revealed it swung to a full year profit.

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.

Vodafone said the appointments followed an internal and external search for candidates. 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 mobile customer base doubled from 269 million to 536 million during his tenure, and the company added almost 20 million broadband customers.

Read attained his present post in 2014 following a successful spell at the group's emerging markets division spanning Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Vodafone delivered an attributable profit of €2.5bn, compared to a loss of €6.3bn in 2017 when the company incurred a one-off €4.5bn charge in relation to merging its India business with the country's mobile phone provider Idea Cellular Limited.

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He will be replaced by current finance director Nick Read. Prior to joining Vodafone, Read held senior finance positions with United Business Media and Federal Express Worldwide.

Vodafone revenue fell 2.2 percent to €46.6 billion, primarily due to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of joint venture VodafoneZiggo, and foreign exchange movements. "Nick has been the core architect of Vodafone strategy for much of my tenure".

The turnaround pointed to a "year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance", Colao said.

"Our sustained investment in network quality supported robust commercial momentum: we added a record number of fixed [Next Generation Networks] and converged customers in Q4, mobile data usage continues to grow strongly and we grew both revenues and margins in Enterprise, despite roaming headwinds, and continued to reduce operating costs".

Earlier this month, Vodafone agreed to buy Liberty Global's cable operations in Germany and Central Europe in a deal valued at €18.4bn.

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