Appointments

Group CFO to be Vodafone’s interim CEO after Read quits

Margherita Della Valle Vodafone.jpg

Vodafone has appointed Margherita Della Valle as interim CEO of the group, following the announcement that Nick Read is stepping down.

Della Valle (pictured) has been group CFO for four and a half years, and she has been with the company since May 1994.

Capacity has asked her whether she will be a candidate for the permanent CEO position. However, a Vodafone official told us: “She’s not making any media comments today.”

Vodafone said this morning she will accelerate the execution of the company’s strategy to improve operational performance and deliver shareholder value.

In addition to being appointed interim group CEO, Della Valle will also continue as group CFO, said Vodafone.

“The board has initiated a process to find a new group chief executive.”

Read, who joined Vodafone UK as CFO in 2002, will leave at the end of the month after four years as group CEO.

Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of Vodafone, said: “During his four years as CEO, he led Vodafone through the pandemic, ensuring that our customers remained connected with their families and businesses. He has focused Vodafone in Europe and Africa as a converged connectivity provider and led the industry in Europe in unlocking value from tower infrastructure.”

Kester Mann of CCS Insight, told Capacity: “Nick Read’s departure is no massive surprise – he had come under growing pressure from disgruntled shareholders amid disappointing stock performance.”

But – apart from deals for its towers business and its plan to merge with Three UK, “deals in targeted markets such as Spain, Italy and Portugal have so far proved elusive”, said Mann.

He added about Read’s decision to go: “It may have been that a fresh perspective on the embattled company was considered the best way forward. However, the new CEO will face the same tough inbox, with geopolitical uncertainty, rising costs, tough regulation, strong competition and questions over return on investment for the sector high on his or her agenda.”

Della Valle’s salary will be £1,081,500 a year, “aligned with Nick Read’s current base salary”, said Vodafone, with a bonus up to double that.

Her long-term incentive plan (LTIP) will be up to five times base salary, said the company. “Margherita will also receive a top up GLTI [global long term incentive plan] award in February 2023 to reflect the change in her status.”