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Vittorio Colao to Step Down as Vodafone CEO After a Decade

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone Group CEO, will step down from the company after a decade in charge of the UK operator. He will officially step down on October 10, and Vodafone’s current finance director Nick Read will replace him.

The announcement came as Vodafone reported its €2.8 billion annual profit, compared with a loss of €6.1 billion last year. Vodafone currently has 536 million mobile and 16.1 million broadband customers. The company has $56 billion in revenue.

Colao helped the UK telecommunications company survive challenges in the European market. He led the transformation of Vodafone from a pure-play mobile provider into a firm focused on converged networks. Big credits coming from ‘Project Spring’ network investment program, and the construction-development of ultra-fast broadband networks.

Colao said it had been a ‘real privilege’ to lead Vodafone through the years. He added that he would be working flat out until his departure, but he had no plans after that.

“[Colao] 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,” declared Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee.

Bright Future Ahead

Vodafone pulled back from its once brazen expansionist drive, most notably when it sold out the US with a $130 billion exit from a joint venture with Verizon.

In addition, Vodafone struck a $21.8 billion deal to buy Liberty Global’s cable TV and broadband networks in Germany, primarily for strengthening its business in Europe where 35 percent of the company’s pro forma revenue came from fixed line in 2017.

Currently, data traffic worldwide rose 61 percent with the help of more generous bundles and lower prices, particularly in India.

Furthermore, average data consumption of users is now averaging 2.9 gigabytes per month. Vodafone said that 92 percent of all data sessions are now at least 3 megabytes per second. The popularity of SIM-Only and Multi-SIM deals’ puts the company’s hope for IoT and zero-rating add-ons that would offset any decline in traditional revenue.

“This was a year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance,” said Colao.

He added, “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.”

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