Vodafone Ousts CEO Nick Read; Names CFO Margherita Della Valle As Interim Chief

  • Vodafone Group Plc VOD CEO Nick Read will step down at the end of 2022 following a year when the telecommunications company's share price sank
  • Read failed to halt a years-long slide in the telecommunication giant's share price, and mergers with major rivals failed to materialize, Bloomberg reports.
  • CFO Margherita Della Valle will become interim CEO, in addition to her current role, pending a replacement
  • The company's share price has sunk this year even after Read attempted to appease investors with asset sales and refocus the British phone company's business, 
  • Last month, Vodafone agreed to sell a stake in its Frankfurt-listed Vantage Towers AG VTAGY business to a private equity consortium
  • Read, who'd been in the post for four years and at Vodafone for more than two decades, will stay as an adviser until the end of March.
  • "I agreed with the board that now is the right moment to hand over to a new leader who can build on Vodafone's strengths and capture the significant opportunities ahead," Read said.
  • Vodafone's challenges deepened in 2022 after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent energy costs soaring while interest rates also rose. Read faced pressure from investors, including Europe's most prominent activist fund Cevian Capital AB, the report added.
  • Vodafone has never appointed an external CEO, so Read's possible successor may already have some link with the company given its complexity, the report cited Berenberg analyst Carl Murdock-Smith.
  • "Vodafone faces intractable headwinds with Germany punching below its weight, cost-of-living crisis weakening support for market repair, and the most readily deliverable transaction already announced," said Jefferies analyst Jerry Dellis in a note.
  • Vodafone reported first-half FY23 revenue growth of 2% year-on-year to €22.93 billion, driven by service revenue growth and higher equipment sales.
  • A decline in Germany and Italy impacted group service revenue trends, and Spain, offset by an acceleration in the U.K. and continued good growth in Other Europe and Africa. 
  • Price Action: VOD shares closed lower by 0.27% at $11.25 on Friday.
  • Photo Via Company
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