Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Vodafone's Colao to step down

Vittorio Colao of Vodafone Group Vodafone's Colao to step down
Nellie Chapman | 15 May, 2018, 15:06

Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao is to step down from the company following a decade in charge of the United Kingdom operator.

At the firm's annual general meeting on July 27, Deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will succeed Read as CFO and will join the board, while Read will become CEO-designate.

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 global enterprise services provider, establishing a leading position in the internet of things (IoT) as well as embracing 4G and broadband services.

Colao steps down after just over 10 years in the job, during which he has transformed Vodafone from a pure mobile player into a converged operator owning multiple cable and fibre networks.

Vodafone said that over the last ten years, he has overseen a strategic reshaping of the group, exiting minority shareholdings to focus on controlled and co-controlled assets while growing mobile customer numbers from 269 million to 536 million (plus 19.7 million broadband customers) over 25 countries, including significant businesses in India, Egypt, Turkey and across Africa, Vodafone said.

Read, who was appointed to his current post four years ago, previously ran Vodafone's Africa, Middle East and Pacific region.

Nick Read, finance director since 2014, will replace him. "Vittorio will leave as his legacy a company of great integrity with strong inclusive values that is exceptionally well-positioned for the decade ahead".

Organic service revenue was up 1.6%, with fourth quarter growth of 1.4%, showing good momentum in data, fixed/convergence and Enterprise.

Total revenue for the year ended March 31 was down 2.2% to EUR46.57 billion, "primarily due to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands and FX movements".

News of Colao's departure comes after the group recently announced a €18.4-billion deal to buy Liberty Global's operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

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.