Economy

Vittorio Colao passes on baton at Vodafone

Vittorio Colao passes on baton at Vodafone

Vodafone India, which is in the process of merging with Idea, on Tuesday reported an operating profit of Rs 9,805 crore for financial year 2017-2018. It had reported a loss of around Rs 30,690 crore for 2016-17 on account of the UK-based Vodafone group cutting down valuation of Indian unit by taking gross impairment charge of 4.5 billion euro.

Vodafone, which also announced its full-year results, said CEO Vittorio Colao, who spent 10 years reshaping the group into a digital communications powerhouse would be replaced by its current finance director. "Intense competition is euphemism".

Data traffic across all territories is up 61 per cent thanks to more generous bundles and lower prices, particularly in India, as the average user now consume an average 2.9GB a month. For Mr Read it's a "step-up" role, after a good track record at Vodafone, said James Ratzer, a telecom analyst at New Street Research in London.

Colao, who will leave his post later this year, has helped Vodafone survive challenges in the European market, transforming it from a pure-play mobile provider into a firm focused on converged networks thanks to the multi-billion "Project Spring" network investment programme and the construction and acquisitions of superfast broadband networks.

The company added over 1 crore pre-paid customers but lost 5.76 lakh contract or post-paid customers.

Colao's successor, Nick Read, was CEO of the group's Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region before becoming CFO and joining the board in April 2014.

However, Vodafone India revenues fell 18.9 per cent, hurt by an ongoing tariff war with Reliance Jio and a drop in interconnection charges ordered by the telecom regulator.

Read will become chief executive-designate at Vodafone's Annual General Meeting in July, and will take over officially from Colao when he leaves on 1 October 2018.

Colao was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the UK-based group in July 2008- nearly a year after Vodafone brand was launched in India. "I would also add that the appointment of Nick and Margherita serves as a testament to the strength and depth of the Vodafone senior leadership team that Vittorio has assembled and led over the last decade", Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said.

Mr Colao's tenure has been largely characterised by Vodafone pulling away from markets outside Europe where his predecessors sought growth, including an agreement a year ago to merge the company's Indian operations with Idea Cellular Ltd - seen by investors as a prelude to a likely exit.