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Vodafone group CEO Colao decides to call it a day
July 20 2018, 08:17 | Irvin Gilbert
Vittorio Colao chief executive officer of Vodafone
Colao's successor, Nick Read, was CEO of the group's Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region before becoming CFO and joining the board in April 2014. From the group's AGM in June already, Read will become CEO designate, while deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will become group CFO and join the board of directors.
For Read it's a "step-up" role, after a good track record at Vodafone, said James Ratzer, a telecom analyst at New Street Research in London. 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". The merger announced a year ago 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.
Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao delivers a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018.
Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said Colao had been an "exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone". She joined Omnitel Pronto Italia - which later became Vodafone Italy - in 1994 and held various consumer marketing positions in business analytics and customer base management before moving to finance.
The FTSE blue-chip benchmark ended the day up 0.2 percent, while Vodafone's shares fell 4.3 percent, the worst-performing on the index.
The turnaround pointed to a "year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance", Colao said.
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Germany, Vodafone's largest territory, grew 2.3 per cent to €10.84bn, the United Kingdom was up 2.2 per cent €7.07bn and Italy grew 1.7 per cent to €6.2bn.
"Now is the right time to begin the transition", Colao said on a call with reporters.
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.
The net debt of Vodafone India stood at 58,119 crore or 7.7 billion euro at the end of the period, down from Rs 64,014 crore (8.7 billion euro) at the end of the prior financial year due to the positive translation impact of closing foreign exchange rates on the debt balance of 1.2 billion euro and proceeds of Rs 3,850 crore from the sale of Vodafone India's standalone towers to American Tower Corporation.