Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao Steps Down, CFO Nick Read Promoted

15 May, 2018, 22:20 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read

In a succession statement released to coincide with Vodafone's latest financial results, the Vodafone board announced that Colao will be replaced by group chief financial officer (CFO) Nick Read on October 1. He will be succeeded by the group's finance chief Nick Read, while deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will take the top finance job. During the decade under his leadership, Vodafone has been transformed from a consumer-focused 2G/3G mobile operator to one of the world's leading converged communications companies with a diverse portfolio including the largest mobile and fixed next-generation network in Europe, a significant worldwide enterprise division, and global leadership in the "Internet of Things". During his tenure, Vodafone's mobile customer base grew from 269 million to 536 million.

Read will succeed him having led the group's finance operations for the last four years, though he does have prior CEO experience having been in charge of the telco's Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

By creating India's largest telecoms operator, Vodafone is seeking to reverse its troubled fortunes in the country, where the company's revenue slumped 18.7 percent during its last financial year.

Colao was appointed Group Chief Executive in July 2008.

Last week Vodafone struck a $21.8 billion deal to buy Liberty Global's cable TV and broadband networks in Germany and other markets to strengthen its business in Europe, where 35 percent of its proforma revenue came from fixed line previous year.

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Vodafone Group did not include India business in their financial performance.

Gerard Kleisterlee, chairman of Vodafone, said Colao's tenure had been "outstanding".

Born in northern Italy, Colao cut his teeth as a management consultant at McKinsey before in 1996 he joined Omnitel Pronto Italia, which later became Vodafone Italy.

The announcement was made alongside the group's financial results for the year to 31 March 2018.

"Our sustained investment in network quality supported robust commercial momentum", he added.

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With fierce competition in the UK from Sky (SKY), and EE strengthened BT (BT.A) and Virgin Media, 'Vodafone UK is playing catch up, ' believes Megabuyte's Carse.

"Now is the right time to begin the transition", Colao said on a call with reporters.

Despite this, Philip Carse, analyst at Megabuyte, described Vodafone's United Kingdom operation as "the sick man of Europe" as service revenue locally dropped 3.6 per cent to €6.1bn versus comparative growth in other big country ops.

"I think now is the time to really focus on our organic plan, really focusing on digital transformation of our business and the customer experience", he told reporters.

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