Vodafone's Vittorio Colao to step down in October

Vittorio Colao chief executive officer of Vodafone

Vittorio Colao chief executive officer of Vodafone

Vodafone Group has announced CEO Vittorio Colao is stepping down from October and will be succeeded by CFO Nick Read.

"Nick has been the co-architect of the Group's strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive worldwide operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen", Gerard Kleisterlee, Chairman of Vodagone Group Plc, said in a statement. He will be succeeded by the group's finance chief Nick Read, while deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will take the top finance job. Colao was appointed CEO in July 2008.

Data traffic on network of Vodafone India increased four fold but the company could not reap financial benefits because of sharp decline in data prices.

By creating India's largest telecoms operator, Vodafone is seeking to reverse its troubled fortunes in the country, where the company's revenue slumped 18.7 percent during its last financial year. Vodafone said the appointments followed an internal and external search for candidates.

Mr Colao has presided over some major changes.

As of 08:50 BST, Vodafone's share price had given up 3.57 percent to 199.80p.

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Colao's departure was announced during the firm's annual results for fiscal '18, in which it posted a 2.2 per cent drop in group revenues to €46.57bn (£41bn). "Our primary focus continues to be to accelerate the "Digital Vodafone" programme, which we believe is a unique opportunity to enhance our customers' experience, generate incremental value and improve cost efficiency". EBITDA also saw a boost, by 11.8 per cent £12.9 billion (€14.7bn).

Vodafone expects organic adjusted EBITDA growth, excluding settlements and United Kingdom handset financing, of 1-5%, implying a range of €14.15-14.65bn.

Organic service revenue - what Vodafone gets from customers' plans and traffic on its networks excluding handset sales - rose 1.4% in the three months through March 31, compared with growth of 1% forecast by the average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Colleagues say he enjoys the cut and thrust of talking to journalists and analysts, and will also happily discuss European politics and regulation. Analysts have long speculated that the former McKinsey & Co. consultant could shift back to Italy - where he joined Vodafone through its acquisition of Mannesmann - to move into Italian politics.

"Today Vodafone is at a natural juncture, the strategic 10 -year reshaping of the group is now nearing completion", Colao, 56, told reporters.

"But it is not yet the time for goodbyes".

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