Nick Read to head Vodafone

Darnell Taylor
May 15, 2018

Deputy chief financial officer will succeed Read at the annual general meeting in July. In 2013, Vodafone sold its stake in Verizon Wireless to U.S. telecoms group Verizon Communications for $130bn, which at the time was one of the biggest deals in corporate history.

On the day Vodafone announced its 2017 numbers, group CEO Vittorio Colao revealed his last day in the office will be 1 October 2018.

Vodafone shares dropped as much as 4.8% and were down 2.9% to 201.1p as of 11.31am in London.

Nick Read, finance director since 2014, will replace him. It also comes ahead of the merger of its struggling Indian business with Idea Cellular, a deal that is expected to close in June. The $130bn sale of the company's position in Verizon Wireless in 2013 cemented his legacy as the man who shrank what was then the world's biggest mobile phone company and cleansed it of past excesses.

Colao steps down after just over 10 years in the job, during which he has transformed Vodafone from a pure mobile player into a converged operator owning multiple cable and fibre networks. "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".

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Excluding the negative impact of net roaming declines in Europe, the benefits of settlements in the United Kingdom and Germany and the introduction of handset financing in the United Kingdom, organic adjusted EBITDA grew by 7.9%.

Vodafone reported today (May 15) profit for 2018 rose 15.3 per cent to £2.5 billion (€2.8bn) for the three months ending March 31. He has been with the company for more than 12 years.

"Losses continued in India as service revenue declined 18.7 percent as a result of intense price competition from the new entrant, aggressive competitor responses and a significant reduction in MTRs (mobile termination rates)", Vodafone said. "And of course there's a big opportunity of integrating these new businesses, both Liberty and over in India", to better challenge incumbents to the benefit of customers and shareholders, he said. 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.

He added he would be working flat out until his departure in October, but that he had no plans after that.

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