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Vodafone makes management changes after sales warning

Antony Savvas

Vodafone has announced a number of changes to its organisational structure and new senior management appointments.

The changes come after Vodafone issued a sales warning for the year in July. For the first quarter ended 30 June, year-on-year sales rose 19.1% to £9.8bn. But the firm said the sales performance for the full year was "now expected to be around the bottom of the £39.8bn to £40.7bn outlook range" it previously forecast.

Vodafone said its outlook reflected first quarter performance, recent economic weakness and lower than expected equipment revenue.

With effect from 1 October, Michel Combes will join Vodafone as CEO for the Europe Region. In this role he will be responsible for all markets currently part of the Europe Region, together with global marketing and global technology, and Vodafone business services. He will also join the Vodafone executive committee.

For the last two years, Combes has been chairman and CEO of TDF Group, the private equity backed French operator of shared facilities and terrestrial networks in Europe.

He previously spent a number of years with France Telecom in senior management positions.

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone Group chief executive, said "I am pleased that we have recruited someone of Michel's talents and expertise. I am confident that he will bring significant experience to Vodafone, given his impressive telecoms and entrepreneurial background."

Vodafone Group has also announced that Paul Donovan, CEO for the EMAPA region, has decided to leave Vodafone at the end of this year. He will continue in his position until 1 January 2009.

Commenting on his departure, Colao said, "I want to extend my thanks and appreciation for all that Paul has done for our business, and in particular his role in expanding our emerging markets portfolio. We wish him well in the future."

Vodafone Group has announced that the EMAPA region will be reorganised into two regions with effect from 1 January 2009, consisting of Central Europe/Africa Region, and the Asia-Pacific Region.

The two regional CEOs will join the executive committee and these appointments will be announced in due course, said Vodafone.

In addition, Vodafone's investment in Verizon Wireless will now not be part of any operating region, and, in light of its financial and strategic importance to the group, will be managed directly at a senior level by Vittorio Colao, Andy Halford and Terry Kramer.

With immediate effect, Kramer will become the group strategy and business improvement director.

In this role he will be responsible for strategy development, for the initiatives aimed at productivity and efficiency gains across the group, and the governance and co-ordination of the relationship with Verizon Wireless.

Kramer will also continue in his role as group HR director, whilst the company conducts a search for his successor in this role.


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