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Vodafone CEO Colao steps down

Long-serving Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao will step down in October after just over a decade in charge

Mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone has announced its group CEO Vittorio Colao is to step down from his post on 1 October 2018, and will be succeeded by current CFO Nick Read.

Colao was appointed to the role in July 2008, and over 10 years at the helm has diversified Vodafone beyond its roots in consumer mobile to become an international enterprise services provider, establishing a leading position in the internet of things (IoT) as well as embracing 4G and broadband services.

He has also been an outspoken advocate of telecoms market reform, and was among many industry voices who called repeatedly for the full structural separation of incumbent BT and its network infrastructure arm Openreach.

Vodafone chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said: “[Vittorio] 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.

“Vittorio will leave as his legacy a company of great integrity with strong inclusive values that is exceptionally well-positioned for the decade ahead.”

Read, who was appointed to his current post four years ago, previously ran Vodafone’s Africa, Middle East and Pacific region. He joined Vodafone in 2001 as UK finance director, before serving stints as UK chief commercial officer and UK chief executive. He will be succeeded by his deputy Margherita Della Valle, who previously ran the organisation’s finances for Europe and Italy.

Vodafone also announced full-year results for the period ending 31 March 2018. Groupwide revenues dipped 2.2% to €46.6bn (£40.99bn), due in part to the December 2016 deconsolidation of its Dutch business and in part to foreign currency movements. Meanwhile, group profit swelled to €2.8bn, reversing last year’s loss of €6.1bn.

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In the UK, it made sales of €7.1bn, up from €6.9bn in 2017, and adjusted operating profit of €168m, up from a loss of €542m in the previous year.

“This was a year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance,” said Colao.

“Our sustained investment in network quality supported robust commercial momentum; we added a record number of fixed NGN [next-generation network] and converged customers in Q4, mobile data usage continues to grow strongly and we grew both revenues and margins in enterprise, despite roaming headwinds, and continued to reduce operating costs.”

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