Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Finance | By Claude Patterson

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao to step down

Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao to step down

Vodafone India on Tuesday posted an operating profit of ₹9,805 crore for the financial year ended March 31, 2018.

Mr Colao's tenure has been largely characterised by Vodafone pulling away from markets outside Europe where his predecessors sought growth, including an agreement past year to merge the company's Indian operations with Idea Cellular Ltd - seen by investors as a prelude to a likely exit.

The announcement came as Vodafone reported a €2.8 billion profit for the financial year, a substantial increase from the €6 billion it lost last year due a write down in the value of its Indian network. "Intense competition is an euphemism".

The blue-chip firm declared a final dividend of 10.23 cents, up 2.0%, bringing its total payout for the year to 15.07 cents compared to last year's 14.77 cents.

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 global enterprise services provider, establishing a leading position in the internet of things (IoT) as well as embracing 4G and broadband services.

Colao will be replaced by Nick Read, who has been finance director since 2014 and always been seen as the likely successor.

Organic service revenue was up 1.6%, with fourth quarter growth of 1.4%, showing good momentum in data, fixed/convergence and Enterprise.

The company added over 1 crore pre-paid customers but lost 5.76 lakh contract or post-paid customers. The reduction in mobile termination rates added to the woes of the company.

Over the past 10 years, Colao has been instrumental in reshaping the group and widening its mobile customer base to 536 million, from 269 million, across 25 countries.

"Nick has been the core architect of Vodafone strategy for much of my tenure".

Colao, 56, will depart from the world's second-largest mobile carrier in October and Read, the 53-year-old chief financial officer, will take over.

While the precise timing couldn't have been anticipated, the handover to Read is being seen as natural by analysts and will give investors a familiar face.

A graduate in Accounting and Finance from Manchester Metropolitan University, Read held senior global finance positions with United Business Media Plc and Federal Express Worldwide before joining Vodafone in 2001.

"I think now is the time to really focus on our organic plan, really focusing on digital transformation of our business and the customer experience".

Like this: