Vodafone sees turnaround as profits for 2018 hit £2.5bn

Vodafone

Vodafone's departing chief executive, Vittorio Colao, is leaving a tough job for his successor Nick Read.

Nick Read will become Vodafone's Group Chief Executive Officer in October, succeeding Vittorio Colao. Vodafone said the appointments followed an internal and external search for 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 joined Vodafone in 2001 and, before becoming CFO in 2014, headed the United Kingdom business and was responsible for Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

By creating India's largest telecoms operator, Vodafone is seeking to reverse its troubled fortunes in the country, where the company's revenue slumped 18.7 percent during its last financial year.

Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao delivers a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2018.

Group operating profit was up 15.4% to €4.3 billion, profit for the year was €2.8 billion, but total revenue was down 2.2% to €46.6 billion, which Vodafone primarily attributed to the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands and foreign exchange movements.

Born in northern Italy, Colao cut his teeth as a management consultant at McKinsey before in 1996 he joined Omnitel Pronto Italia, which later became Vodafone Italy.

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"Vodafone chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said: "[Vittorio] has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged communications, ready for the gigabit future.

This has led to a mixed full year to 31 March 2018 operating performance, although one that looks pretty decent overall.

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

Vodafone's results showed underlying earnings - the company's preferred profit measure - rose 12 per cent on an organic basis to €14.7 billion, ahead of the company's guidance of 10 per cent organic growth.

The Italian executive leaves Read to see through Vodafone's $22-billion agreement last week to acquire cable assets from Liberty Global, which rounds out Colao's reshaping of the Newbury, England-based company into a predominantly European carrier. "Our primary focus continues to be to accelerate the "Digital Vodafone" programme, which we believe is a unique opportunity to enhance our customers' experience, generate incremental value and improve cost efficiency".

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