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15 May 2018, 05:16 | Hattie Nash
Vittorio Colao steps down after decade at Vodafone
At the company's annual general meeting in July, deputy chief financial officer Marghertia Della Valle will take over as chief financial officer, with Read becoming group chief executive-designate.
The Vodafone Group Plc Board conducted a succession planning process that involved the detailed assessment of potential internal and external candidates. In 2013, Vodafone sold its stake in Verizon Wireless to USA telecoms group Verizon Communications for $130bn, which at the time was one of the biggest deals in corporate history.
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. Colao was appointed CEO in July 2008.
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Total revenue fell 2.2% €46.6bn, reflecting foreign exchange headwinds and the negative impact from the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of the VodafoneZiggo joint venture with Liberty Global.
Read was appointed chief financial officer, joining the Vodafone board in 2014 and had previously served as the group chief executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.
"We have made good progress in securing approvals for the merger with Idea Cellular in India - which is expected to close imminently - and appointed the new management team, who will focus immediately on capturing the sizeable cost synergies".
The turnaround pointed to a "year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance", Colao said. The $130bn sale of the company's position in Verizon Wireless in 2013 cemented his legacy as the man who shrank what was then the world's biggest mobile phone company and cleansed it of past excesses. The deal to acquire Liberty Global's German and Eastern European businesses allows Colao to leave having mostly solved years of on-and-off talks with billionaire John Malone's cable company about a potential tie-up to better compete with incumbents like Deutsche Telekom. As a result, underlying EBITDA grew 7.9%.
Vodafone reported today (May 15) profit for 2018 rose 15.3 per cent to £2.5 billion (€2.8bn) for the three months ending March 31.
"Losses continued in India as service revenue declined 18.7 percent 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.
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