Vittorio Colao quits as Vodafone Group CEO

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on May 16, 2018 Published on May 15, 2018

Vittorio Colao, CEO of Vodafone   -  BusinessLine

To be replaced by Group CFO Read

After being at the helm for nearly a decade, Vittorio Colao is stepping down as CEO of British telecom major Vodafone Group, handing over the reins to Group CFO Nick Read.

Colao’s exit comes at a crucial time, as Vodafone’s India operations are close to being merged with Idea Cellular.

“Effective October 1, 2018, Vittorio Colao will be succeeded by Group Chief Financial Officer Nick Read,” the company said in a statement announcing the succession plan.

“At the date of the Group’s Annual General Meeting on July 27, 2018, Deputy CFO Margherita Della Valle will succeed Nick Read as Group Chief Financial Officer and will join the board, and Nick Read will become Group Chief Executive-designate.”

Interestingly Colao’s journey as CEO of Vodafone Plc also coincides with the company’s India timeline.

He had taken over the reigns of Vodafone Plc just after the British company acquired Hutchison’s mobile unit in India.

His exit comes just ahead of Vodafone India’s merger with Idea Cellular.

Reshaping the group

Over the past 10 years, Colao has been instrumental in reshaping the group and widening its mobile customer base to 536 million, from 269 million, across 25 countries.

Vodafone, which also has 19.7 million broadband users, now has a significant presence in India, Egypt, Turkey and Africa.

Apart from the merger with Idea Cellular, Colao also recently sealed an €18-billion takeover of Liberty Global’s German and East European cable companies.

He was also instrumental in Vodafone’s $130-billion stake sale in Verizon Wireless.

According to industry watchers, his exit comes at a time when Vodafone has repositioned its global ambitions, which will now be driven by Read.

An Italian, Colao (56) had started his career with investment bank Morgan Stanley in London. He has also worked with McKinsey & Co, Omnitel Pronto Italia and Italian publishing company RCS MediaGroup.

Read, who was previously the Group’s Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region, joined the Vodafone Group board in April 2014. He has served on the boards of various Vodafone units across emerging markets, including Vodacom Group and Vodafone India.

Published on May 15, 2018
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