Vittorio Colao passes on baton at Vodafone

Posted May 16, 2018

Group profits returned to the black, €2.8bn, compared to a loss of €6.1bn in the previous year - mainly due to the write-off of Vodafone's Indian business.

Vodafone, which also announced its full-year results, said CEO Vittorio Colao, who spent 10 years reshaping the group into a digital communications powerhouse would be replaced by its current finance director.

Vodafone's earnings announcement Thursday pointed to other challenges ahead for Read, as the company battles low-end price competition in Spain and prepares for the entry of Iliad SA's discount carrier in Italy.

"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.

Vittorio Colao was appointed Group Chief Executive in July 2008.

Vodafone India, which is merging with Idea Cellular, expects the process to be completed by June, possibly making the latest results the last on standalone basis. Nick Read was previously the Group's chief executive officer 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.

"The chapter that Vodafone is now starting is completely new".

Colao was appointed to the role in July 2008, and over 10 years at the helm has diversified Vodafone beyond its roots in consumer mobile to become an worldwide enterprise services provider, establishing a leading position in the internet of things (IoT) as well as embracing 4G and broadband services.

Mr Colao's successor takes on the top job at a time of change for the group, which has just struck an €18.4 billion (£16.2 billion) deal that will see it snap up a raft of Liberty Global assets across Europe.

Della Valle was appointed Deputy Group Chief Financial Officer in 2015.

"Vittorio will leave as his legacy a company of great integrity with strong inclusive values that is exceptionally well-positioned for the decade ahead", Vodafone's chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said in a statement.

Colao will be replaced by Vodafone's finance director since 2014, Nick Read whose wealth of global experience made him a likely candidate for the position.

"Nick has been the core architect of Vodafone strategy for much of my tenure". In addition, we agreed the merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel, allowing Vodafone to own a significant co-controlling stake in India's largest listed tower company.