15 May 2018
| James Pearce
Vittorio Colao, the CEO of Vodafone Group, is to step down in October after more than a decade in the role.
Colao (pictured, left) will be
replaced by current chief financial officer Nick Read, who has
been with the UK-based telecoms giant since 2001.
Colao’s departure comes amidst some of
Vodafone’s largest M&A activity. The CEO
announced last week that the telco had struck an
€18 billion deal to buy Liberty Global’s
German and Eastern European cable assets after years of
wrangling and rumours, whilst it is also close to completing a
Vodafone India and rival Idea Cellular.
56-year-old Colao was Vodafone’s CEO of Europe
took the reins at Vodafone in 2008, succeeding Arun Sarin.
During his tenure, Vodafone has seen its mobile customer base
grow from 269 million to 536 million across 25 countries.
Vodafone Group chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said: "On behalf
of the Board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio
for an outstanding tenure. He has been an exemplary leader and
strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation
of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged
communications, ready for the Gigabit future. Vittorio will
leave as his legacy a company of great integrity with strong
inclusive values that is exceptionally well-positioned for the
His replacement, Read, has been Group chief financial
officer since 2014. He previously served as
Vodafone’s chief executive for the Africa, Middle
East and Asia Pacific region as well as a board member for both
Vodacom and Vodafone India.
Prior to joining Vodafone, Read held senior global finance
positions with United Business Media Plc and Federal Express
Read will become chief executive-designate at
Vodafone’s Annual General Meeting in July, and
will take over officially from Colao when he leaves on 1
October 2018. He will be replaced as CFO by deputy CFO
Margherita Della Valle.
Della Valle was appointed deputy Group CFO in 2015. She was
previously chief financial controller, chief financial officer
for the Europe region, and CFO for Vodafone Italy. She joined
Omnitel Pronto Italia – which later became Vodafone
Italy – in 1994 and held various consumer marketing
positions in business analytics and customer base management
before moving to finance.
Kleisterlee added: "Nick has been the co-architect of the
Group’s strategy together with Vittorio, combining
extensive international operational and commercial leadership
with world-class financial acumen. I am confident Vodafone will
benefit greatly from his experience, insight and wisdom in his
new role as Group Chief Executive.
"Margherita has a strong track record in financial
leadership at the highest levels, and I am delighted to welcome
her to the Board. I would also add that the appointment of Nick
and Margherita serves as a testament to the strength and depth
of the Vodafone senior leadership team that Vittorio has
assembled and led over the last decade."
The announcement came as Vodafone revealed its full-year
financial results, which saw revenue dip 2.2% to €46.6
billion, hit by struggles in the Indian market, where EBITDA
has declined by more than a third.
Despite the dip, Colao called the financial year one of
"significant operational and strategic achievement and strong
financial performance" pointing to revenue and margin growth in
Vodafone’s Enterprise business.
The fixed service revenue sector – which includes
Vodafone Carrier Services – generated €2.7
billion for the group, up from €2.6 billion in 2017.