Vodafone chief Chris Gent rings off


Outgoing Vodafone boss Sir Christopher Gent received a standing ovation from shareholders today as he stepped down from the firm he turned into one of the biggest companies in the world.

Sir Christopher, who retires with a pension pot worth more than £10 million sterling, handed over the reins at the company's annual general meeting today after a six-and-a-half year tenure. During his time Vodafone grew to become the UK's second largest company at number 15 in the world.

His successor, Mr Arun Sarin, described him as a "visionary leader" and chairman Lord MacLaurin announced that Sir Christopher was to be made life president of the group. Sir Christopher (55) joined Vodafone in August 1985, only seven months after the UK's first ever mobile phone call was made. He became chief executive in 1997.

As he leaves the company today, it has almost 123 million customers around the world. Last year it made profits of £8.43 billion.

Vodafone has 1.76 million Irish customers.