Della Valle named first female chief executive of Vodafone
Vodafone has confirmed the appointment of Margherita Della Valle as its permanent CEO, months after the CFO took the reins as interim chief.
Della Valle was appointed as interim CEO of the group in December, following news that Nick Read would be stepping down.
Read left the operator after failing to reverse an over 40% fall in its share price during his tenure.
Della Valle has been group CFO for four and a half years and has been with the company since May 1994.
She will continue with her responsibilities as CFO until a new CFO is appointed.
Della Valle said: “I am honoured to have been appointed as Group Chief Executive. Vodafone has a unique position in Europe and Africa with strong customer relationships, networks and people.
To realise our potential Vodafone needs to change. We know we can do better. My focus will be to improve the service for our customers, simplify our business and grow.”
In addition to being appointed Group Chief Executive, Margherita Della Valle will also continue as Group Chief Financial Officer until an external search for a new Group Chief Financial Officer is complete.
Kester Mann, director of consumer and connectivity at CCS Insight believes that after such a protracted recruitment process, it’s hard to conclude that the appointment of Della Valle wasn’t the initial first choice for all parties after Nick Read’s departure.
“She has strong credentials through a wealth of experience both internationally and within Vodafone, including a stint as interim boss,” Mann says.
However, Mann adds that appointing a close aide of Read to the top job indicates little deviation in strategy for the firm.
“This may not go down so well with people pushing for a fresh approach to running the embattled company, but it does give Vodafone a safe pair of hands during this challenging time.”
There is already plenty in Della Valle’s inbox, Mann believes, with Middle Eastern operator e& stake-building in the operator, talks on a merger with Three UK ongoing and fresh discussions with Italy’s Iliad reportedly underway.