Vodafone's Colao to step down

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read

Vodafone's chief executive Vittorio Colao is to leave the mobile phone giant in October after 10 years at the helm.

He joined Vodafone in 2001 as UK finance director, before serving stints as UK chief commercial officer and UK chief executive.

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

The 56-year-old Italian said that the time was right to move on with most of the "reshaping" of Vodafone now complete following the recent spate of deals.

At the firm's annual general meeting on July 27, Deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will succeed Read as CFO and will join the board, while Read will become CEO-designate. 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.

Vodafone's chairman, Gerard Kleisterlee, said: "On behalf of the board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure".

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There doesn't seem to be any juicy gossip behind the move, he has presumably just chose to spend more time with his cash, having spent a decade in charge.

For Read it's a "step-up" role, after a good track record at Vodafone, said James Ratzer, a telecoms analyst at New Street Research in London.

"Losses continued in India as service revenue declined 18.7 per cent as a result of intense price competition from the new entrant, aggressive competitor responses and a significant reduction in MTRs (mobile termination rates)", Vodafone said.

Vodafone on Tuesday posted net profit of 2.4 billion euros ($2.9 billion) in the 12 months to the end of March, which compared with a loss after tax of 6.3 billion euros in 2016/17, the group said in a statement. It also comes ahead of the merger of its struggling Indian business with Idea Cellular, a deal that is expected to close in June.

Looking ahead, Vodafone expects to grow adjusted organic Ebitda by 1% to 5%, excluding the impact of United Kingdom handset financing in both years, and the significant benefit in the prior year from regulatory settlements in the United Kingdom and a legal settlement in Germany. "And we announced last week the acquisition of Liberty Global's cable assets in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe, transforming the Group into Europe's leading next generation network owner and a truly converged challenger to dominant incumbents".

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