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".