Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao steps down after 10 years in charge

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao steps down after 10 years in charge

Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) -3% premarket after CEO Vittorio Colao said he'll step down in October after 10 years of major dealmaking and reshaping the company into a digital communications powerhouse. Margherita Della Valle, now Read's deputy, will take over as CFO.

Read attained his present post in 2014 following a successful spell at the group's emerging markets division spanning Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. 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".

Read will himself be replaced by deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle.

Gerard Kleisterlee, chairman, said: "On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure". Margherita has a strong track record in financial leadership at the highest levels, and I am delighted to welcome her to the Board. 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.

It had reported a loss of around Rs 30,690 crore for 2016-17 on account of the UK-based Vodafone group cutting down valuation of Indian unit by taking gross impairment charge of 4.5 billion euro.

Mr Colao said it had been a "real privilege to lead the group through a decade of massive strategic transformation".

Proceeds from the Verizon sale allowed Colao to make investments in Vodafone's European network, adding cable and fiber assets and modernising mobile businesses so the carrier could offer bundled services in the bulk of its markets. The company forecast it will grow organic adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation by 1% to 5% in fiscal 2019, bringing the midpoint result below the average analyst estimate of 14.6 billion euros ($17.4 billion).

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.