Vodafone Group Plc Shares Fall as CEO Prepares to Step Down

15 May 2018, 10:18 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Vittorio Colao is stepping down from Vodafone

Vittorio Colao is stepping down from Vodafone

Meanwhile, at the date of Vodafone's AGM on July 27, deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will succeed Read and join the board, and Read will become group chief executive-designate.

Colao will be replaced by Vodafone's finance director since 2014, Nick Read whose wealth of worldwide experience made him a likely candidate for the position. During his tenure, Vodafone's mobile customer base grew from 269 million to 536 million. He was previously Vodafone's chief executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region and served as a board member of a number of Vodafone's emerging markets subsidiaries including Vodacom Group and Vodafone India.

Data traffic on network of Vodafone India increased four fold but the company could not reap financial benefits because of sharp decline in data prices.

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 telecom companies that he inherited from his predecessor Arun Sarin in July 2008.

The FTSE blue-chip benchmark was broadly flat by 0840 GMT while Vodafone shares, index heavyweights, were the worst performer with a 2.5 percent fall.

Vodafone Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee thanked Colao, describing him as "a strategic visionary".

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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.

Colao, whose departure was announced alongside full-year results on Tuesday, leaves on a high.

"This was a year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance", noted Colao.

"The overall improvement in Vodafone's fortunes over the last 10 years is less evident in the United Kingdom, the company's worst major European market, albeit that some of this reflects an inherently more competitive mobile market with four strong players", he added. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time.

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.

But the group last week agreed to buy cable group Liberty Global's German and eastern European assets for 18.4 billion euros including debt. "Our primary focus continues to be to accelerate the "Digital Vodafone" programme, which we believe is a unique opportunity to enhance our customers' experience, generate incremental value and improve cost efficiency".



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