Nick Read to succeed Vittorio Colao as Vodafone Group CEO

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read

Vodafone Group has announced CEO Vittorio Colao is stepping down from October and will be succeeded by CFO Nick Read.

"At the date of the Group's Annual General Meeting on 27 July 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", it said.

"While the succession news may have caught the markets off-guard, it appears to be an orderly change within the group", Accendo Markets analyst Artjom Hatsaturjants said as Vodafone's share price dropped 2.6 percent in London morning deals.

Colao has been at the helm since 2008, with Vodafone saying he had overseen the company's shift, assuming "a diverse portfolio including the largest mobile and fixed next-generation network in Europe".

Read attained his present post in 2014 following a successful spell at the group's emerging markets division spanning Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In 2013, Vodafone sold its stake in Verizon Wireless to United States telecoms group Verizon Communications for $130bn, which at the time was one of the biggest deals in corporate history. She was previously Group Chief Financial Controller, Chief Financial Officer for the Europe region, and Chief Financial Officer for Vodafone Italy. "Nick has been the core architect of Vodafone strategy for much of my tenure".

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

Total revenue fell 2.2% €46.6bn, reflecting foreign exchange headwinds and the negative impact from the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of the VodafoneZiggo joint venture with Liberty Global. "As a result, underlying EBITDA grew 7.9 per cent".

Vodafone said it was close to gaining regulatory approval for the planned merger of its Indian operations with Idea Cellular.

Operating profit was up 15.4 per cent to £3.7 billion (€4.3bn) on last year's figure.

The announcement comes less than a week after Vodafone unveiled a deal to turn it into Europe's largest cable and broadband operator by buying assets from USA peer Liberty Global.

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