Arun Sarin will retire as Vodafone's chief executive in July. He will be succeeded by deputy chief executive Vittorio Colao.
"It has been a privilege to lead Vodafone for the last five years and to have been involved in the company for such a long time. I know that the business is in capable hands with Vittorio Colao," Sarin said.
Sarin became chief executive in July 2003 and developed and implemented a new strategy to become a total communications company. As part of its strategy, Vodafone has also expanded into emerging markets including Romania, Czech Republic, Turkey and, most recently, India, where Sarin led the acquisition of Hutchison Essar, which is the largest foreign investment made in the country.
"Arun has led the company with distinction and navigated Vodafone through a period of rapid change," said chairman John Bond. "He has developed a new strategy for the business and significantly expanded our footprint in emerging markets." Earlier this year, Vodafone took a controlling interest in Hutchinson Essar, India's fourth largest telco.
Sarin, 53, graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology with a BS in engineering in 1975. In 1978 he gained a MS in engineering and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.
Vittorio Colao, 46, was appointed chief executive for Europe and deputy group chief executive of Vodafone Group in October 2006.
Vittorio holds a business degree from Bocconi University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.