Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Vodafone CEO steps down after a decade as profits return

Vittorio Colao chief executive officer of Vodafone Vittorio Colao chief executive officer of Vodafone
Laurie Berry | 15 May, 2018, 17:13

Colao will be replaced by current Group CFO Nick Read, who in turn will be succeeded by his deputy Margherita Della Valle.

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

Colao's decade as CEO at Vodafone has been mostly characterised by sales to clean up a sprawling global network of businesses and stakes in telecoms companies that he inherited from his predecessor Arun Sarin in July 2008.

Colao was appointed to the role in July 2008, and over 10 years at the helm has diversified Vodafone beyond its roots in consumer mobile to become an worldwide enterprise services provider, establishing a leading position in the internet of things (IoT) as well as embracing 4G and broadband services. The merger, announced previous year, 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.

Read was appointed the group's CFO and joined the Vodafone Group Plc Board in April 2014.

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British telecoms giant Vodafone on Tuesday announced a return to annual profit, as it revealed that long-serving chief executive Vittorio Colao will step down later this year.

Vodafone's chairman, Gerard Kleisterlee, said: "On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure. He has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged communications, ready for the Gigabit future".

Group operating profit was up 15.4 per cent to €4.3 billion, with profit for the year of €2.8 billion, and total revenue down 2.2 per cent to €46.6 billion, primarily ascribed to to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands and FX movements.

There doesn't seem to be any juicy gossip behind the move, he has presumably just made a decision to spend more time with his cash, having spent a decade in charge.

"Our sustained investment in network quality supported robust commercial momentum", he added. It also comes ahead of the merger of its struggling Indian business with Idea Cellular, a deal that is expected to close in June. The company forecast it will grow organic adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation by 1-5% in fiscal 2019, bringing the midpoint result below the average analyst estimate of €14.6bn.

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