Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao steps down after 10 years in charge

Vittorio Colao of Vodafone Group

Vodafone has named group chief financial officer Nick Read as the successor to outgoing chief executive Vittorio Colao who will leave the post with effect from 1 October.

Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Group, gestures as he speaks during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 25, 2018.

Read was appointed CFO and joined the Vodafone board in April 2014.

Read, who was appointed to his current post four years ago, previously ran Vodafone's Africa, Middle East and Pacific region.

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

Gerard Kleisterlee, chairman of Vodafone, said Colao's tenure had been "outstanding".

"Nick has been the co-architect of the Group's strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive global operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen".

Vodafone Group PLC (LON:VOD) shares fell on Tuesday as it announced that its chief executive Vittorio Colao is to step down in October as the telecoms giant revealed it swung to a full year profit. Margherita has a strong track record in financial leadership at the highest levels, and I am delighted to welcome her to the Board.

Mr Colao said it had been a "real privilege to lead the group through a decade of massive strategic transformation".

The 56-year-old Italian said that the time was right to move on with most of the "reshaping" of Vodafone now complete following the recent spate of deals.

Analysts said the timing of the departure should come as no surprise and that investors should be reassured by Read's appointment due to his experience running its British operations and the emerging market assets.

With fierce competition in the UK from Sky (SKY), and EE strengthened BT (BT.A) and Virgin Media, 'Vodafone UK is playing catch up, ' believes Megabuyte's Carse.

Last week, Vodafone paid €18.4bn to buy Liberty Global's cable TV and broadband networks in Germany and Eastern Europe.

"This was a year of significant operational and strategic achievement and strong financial performance", said Colao. A global team of about 30 correspondents in New York, London, Hong Kong and other major cities provides expert analysis in real time. "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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