Vodafone chief Vittorio Colao to step down after 10 years in charge

Vittorio Colao is stepping down from Vodafone

Vittorio Colao is stepping down from Vodafone

"Following the completion of Idea's equity raising in February 2018, under the terms of the merger agreement with Idea the Group intends to inject up to 1 billion euro (around Rs 7,500 crore) of incremental equity into India, net of the proceeds of the sale of a stake in the joint venture to the Aditya Birla Group (ABG), prior to completion", Vodafone said.

Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said Colao had been an "exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone".

Announcing Colao's departure, Vodafone said that during his decade at the helm, group-wide mobile phone customers had doubled to 536 million across 25 countries. Effective October 1st 2018, Vittorio Colao will be succeeded by Group Chief Financial Officer Nick Read. "On behalf of the Board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure". As a result, Read will be named as group chief-executive designate at the telecoms giant's annual general meeting on 27 July - presaging a period of transition at the top.

Gerard Kleisterlee, chairman, said Mr Read had been the "co-architect of the group's strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive global operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen".

In Read, 53, investors will get a new chief executive long groomed for the job.

It had reported a loss of around Rs 30,690 crore for 2016-17 on account of the UK-based Vodafone group cutting down valuation of Indian unit by taking gross impairment charge of 4.5 billion euro.

"Losses continued in India as service revenue declined 18.7 per cent as a result of intense price competition from the new entrant, aggressive competitor responses and a significant reduction in MTRs (mobile termination rates)", Vodafone said.

The turnaround pointed to a "year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance", Colao said.

"Our sustained investment in network quality supported robust commercial momentum: we added a record number of fixed [Next Generation Networks] 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".

This includes last week's deal with Liberty Global for Vodafone to acquire cable networks in Germany, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary.

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