Vodafone calls on CFO Nick Read to serve as CEO

Vittorio Colao of Vodafone Group

On the same day the operator announced group CEO Vittorio Colao will step down from his post in October after a decade in the job.

Deputy chief financial officer will succeed Read at the annual general meeting in July.

The Vodafone Group Plc Board conducted a succession planning process that involved the detailed assessment of potential internal and external candidates.

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Colao has been in the hot seat since 2008, overseeing a period of transformation which has seen the business reorient itself from a consumer focussed mobile operator into a communications empire operating the largest mobile and fixed-generation network in Europe. The mobile customer base doubled from 269 million to 536 million during his tenure, and the company added almost 20 million broadband customers.

Profit of Vodafone was €2.8 billion, including €2.2 billion net of tax reduction in the carrying value of the Group's operations in India and a €1.9 billion increase in deferred tax assets in Luxembourg. With CFO Nick Read (4 years in the position) slated to replace Vittorio Colao at the helm, investors looked to be erring on the side of caution about the group's direction under new leadership.

Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said: "On behalf of the Board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure".

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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.

Organic service revenue was up 1.6%, with fourth quarter growth of 1.4%, showing good momentum in data, fixed/convergence and Enterprise.

Vodafone revenue fell 2.2 percent to €46.6 billion, primarily due to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of joint venture VodafoneZiggo, and foreign exchange movements. "As a result, underlying EBITDA grew 7.9 per cent". In addition, we agreed the merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel, allowing Vodafone to own a significant co-controlling stake in India's largest listed tower company.

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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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