Vodafone CEO to step down after 10 years

Vittorio Colao is stepping down from Vodafone

Vittorio Colao is stepping down from Vodafone

He constantly kept close watch on India business from his global position. "It is a hard decision to step down as CEO from a company where you have been for 10 years", Colao said.

In a succession statement released to coincide with Vodafone's latest financial results, the Vodafone board announced that Colao will be replaced by group chief financial officer (CFO) Nick Read on October 1. Colao has been very vocal on policy and industry issues arising out of India including high spectrum cost, tariff war, legal tussle with Indian government and regulator.

Colao's legacy includes pulling the company out of the US by abandoning a joint venture with American telecoms giant Verizon and striking a $22 billion deal with the world's biggest worldwide TV and broadband company, Liberty Global.

Vodafone has challenged the tax notice under Netherlands-India Bilateral Investment Treaty and the matter is now arbitration.

He also added saying, "After 10 years of stability under Colao, Vodafone is potentially setting sail into uncharted waters".

For Read it's a "step-up" role, after a good track record at Vodafone, said James Ratzer, a telecoms analyst at New Street Research in London. Vodafone's US$22-billion agreement last week to acquire cable assets in Europe from Liberty Global plc allows Mr Colao to leave Newbury, England-based Vodafone with a landmark purchase to round out his years reshaping the company as a predominantly European carrier, with the mix of mobile and fixed assets needed to sell bundled services. The Italian has previously held other financial and marketing roles within the group after she joined Omnitel Pronto Italia - which later became Vodafone Italy - in 1994.

Read will succeed him having led the group's finance operations for the last four years, though he does have prior CEO experience having been in charge of the telco's Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

Nick Read taking over as the new CEO of Vodafone Group Plc isn't much of a surprise. As a result, Read will be named as group chief-executive designate at the telecoms giant's annual general meeting on 27 July - presaging a period of transition at the top.

His replacement, Read, has been Group chief financial officer since 2014.

"[Colao] 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", declared Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee.

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