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Vodafone CEO to step down after 10 years

Vodafone chief executive officer Vittorio Colao is due to step down in October after 10 years in charge of the telecoms giant.

Vittorio Colao

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.

Prior to this, at the company’s annual general meeting on July 27, Read will become group chief executive-designate and deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will take over as group chief financial officer and will join the board.

“On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure,” said Vodafone Group chairman, Gerard Kleisterlee.

“He has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged communications, ready for the Gigabit future.”

Colao became Vodafone CEO in July 2008 and during his tenure the company has gone from a consumer-focused 2G/3G mobile operator to a converged communications company with a portfolio that includes what it claims to be the largest mobile and fixed next-generation network in Europe.

Nick Read

His replacement, Read, became Vodafone’s CFO in April 2014, having previously worked as the group’s chief executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region. He also served as a board member of a number of Vodafone’s emerging markets subsidiaries including Vodacom Group and Vodafone India.

Read first joined Vodafone in 2001 as Vodafone UK finance director, rising to Vodafone UK chief commercial officer and then Vodafone UK chief executive.

“Nick has been the co-architect of the group’s strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive international operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen,” said Kleisterlee. “I am confident Vodafone will benefit greatly from his experience, insight and wisdom in his new role as group chief executive.”

“Margherita has a strong track record in financial leadership at the highest levels, and I am delighted to welcome her to the board. I would also add that the appointment of Nick and Margherita serves as a testament to the strength and depth of the Vodafone senior leadership team that Vittorio has assembled and led over the last decade.”

The news came as Vodafone announced its results for the year ended March 31, 2018. Group operating profit was up 15.4% to €4.3 billion, profit for the year was €2.8 billion, but total revenue was down 2.2% to €46.6 billion, which Vodafone primarily attributed to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands and foreign exchange movements.

It also comes a week after Vodafone agreed to acquire Liberty Global’s operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania for an enterprise value of €18.4 billion.

Vodafone said the deal will create a “converged national challenger to the dominant incumbent in Germany” and claimed that it will also transform its fixed line and convergence strategy in key Central and Eastern European markets.