Colao has presided over a hugely successful spell for Vodafone, in which the telecoms giant almost doubled its customer base in just ten years

Vittorio Colao is to step aside as Vodafone’s chief executive in October 2018, following an announcement by Vodafone’s board. Colao will be replaced by Vodafone’s current chief financial officer, Nick Read.

Colao has presided over an immensely successful period for Vodafone, during which time he helped to transform the company from being a narrowly focused mobile network operator, to the fully converged European heavyweight that it is today. 

“On behalf of the Board, I would like to express our gratitude to Vittorio for an outstanding tenure. He has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged communications, ready for the Gigabit future. Vittorio will leave as his legacy a company of great integrity with strong inclusive values that is exceptionally well-positioned for the decade ahead,” said Vodafone group’s chairman, Gerard Kleisterlee.  

In 2012, Colao was awarded the CEO of the Year award at the World Communication Awards, for his efforts in growing the Vodafone brand. During his tenure, Colao increased Vodafone’s global customer base from 269 million to 536 million customers. 

Nick Read will take up the reins as Vodafone’s new chief exec in October 2018 – during one of the most exciting and eventful periods in the company’s history. In India, Vodafone is poised to merge with Idea Cellular, the newly formed entity will create India’s third biggest telco and will compete with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio for dominance in one of the world’s biggest and most competitive markets. 

In Europe, Vodafone has recently purchased a clutch of assets from Liberty Global that will simultaneously increase its presence in Eastern Europe and strengthen its offering in Germany. The German acquisition could prove to be a game changer for Vodafone, as it prepares to challenge Deutsche Telekom for the title of king of converged services. 

Read and Colao have worked closely together over the course of the last decade, and Read’s appointment as Colao’s successor will be seen as a continuation of Vodafone’s current strategy. 

“Nick has been the co-architect of the Group’s strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive international operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen. I am confident Vodafone will benefit greatly from his experience, insight and wisdom in his new role as Group Chief Executive. Margherita has a strong track record in financial leadership at the highest levels, and I am delighted to welcome her to the Board. 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,” said Kleisterlee.