Vodafone shares slide as chief executive Vittorio Colao to step down

Finance director Nick Read will take over top role in October

Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao delivers a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Sergio Perez/File Photo/Reuters

Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao delivers a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Sergio Perez/File Photo/Reuters

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Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao will step down in October after 10 years in charge of the world’s second largest mobile operator, and will be succeeded by finance director Nick Read, the company said on Tuesday.

Mr Colao has transformed the British company during his time at the helm.

He took Vodafone out of the United States with a $130 billion (€109 billion) exit from a joint venture with Verizon, agreed to merge its operations in India with Idea Cellular and a week ago struck a deal to buy Liberty Global’s cable TV and broadband networks in Germany and Eastern Europe.

The announcement came as the company reported a 1.4 per cent rise in organic service revenue for its fourth quarter, beating analyst forecasts of a 1.1 per cent rise.

Core earnings rose 11.8 per cent to €14.7 billion, beating guidance for “around 10 per cent” organic growth and just ahead of analyst forecasts of €14.6 billion.

For 2019, the group forecast organic adjusted core earnings growth of between 1 and 5 per cent, and free cash flow before spectrum costs of at least €5.2 billion, slightly down on the 2018 number of €5.4 billion. – Reuters

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