Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao to step down

After 10 years with Vodafone, Chief Executive Vittorio Colao has announced that he will step down from his role and that finance director Nick Read will take his place.

Read, a Briton educated at a state school, will be replaced by his deputy since 2015, Margherita Della Valle, an Italian who joined the group in 1994.

The Vodafone Group Plc Board conducted a succession planning process that involved the detailed assessment of potential internal and external candidates. The mobile customer base doubled from 269 million to 536 million during his tenure, and the company added almost 20 million broadband customers. He was previously the Group's Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region and served as a board member of a number of Vodafone's emerging markets subsidiaries including Vodacom Group and Vodafone India.

Data traffic on network of Vodafone India increased four fold but the company could not reap financial benefits because of sharp decline in data prices.

Since becoming CEO in 2008, 56-year-old Colao has been integral in Vodafone's growth into one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world.

Vodafone Group did not include India business in their financial performance.

Last week Vodafone struck a $21.8 billion deal to buy Liberty Global's cable TV and broadband networks in Germany and other markets to strengthen its business in Europe, where 35 percent of its proforma revenue came from fixed line past year.

"Nick has been the co-architect of the Group's strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive worldwide operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen", commented Gerard Kleisterlee, the Group's Chairman. He has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone.

The news came as Vodafone announced its results for the year ended March 31, 2018.

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%.

There doesn't seem to be any juicy gossip behind the move, he has presumably just made a decision to spend more time with his cash, having spent a decade in charge.

"Now is the right time to begin the transition", Colao said on a call with reporters.

But the group last week agreed to buy cable group Liberty Global's German and eastern European assets for 18.4 billion euros including debt.

Pretax profit rose to EUR3.88 billion from EUR2.79 billion a year ago.