Vodafone sees turnaround as profits for 2018 hit £2.5bn

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Colao has been in the hot seat since 2008, overseeing a period of transformation which has seen the business reorient itself from a consumer focussed mobile operator into a communications empire operating the largest mobile and fixed-generation network in Europe. "Vittorio will leave as his legacy a company of great integrity with strong inclusive values that is exceptionally well-positioned for the decade ahead". Margherita Della Valle, now deputy CFO, will succeed Read as CFO.

Read was appointed CFO and joined the Vodafone board in April 2014.

"Nick has been the co-architect of the Group's strategy together with Vittorio, combining extensive global operational and commercial leadership with world-class financial acumen". He was previously the Group's Chief Executive for the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region and served as a board member of a number of Vodafone's emerging markets subsidiaries including Vodacom Group and Vodafone India.

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Colao, who has been a big part in making Vodafone into one of the global telecom groups, has stepped down only days after the company sealed an €18bn (Rs 1654 crore) takeover of Liberty Global's German and eastern European cable companies, Vodafone's biggest takeover of his tenure.

For Read it's a "step-up" role, after a good track record at Vodafone, said James Ratzer, a telecoms analyst at New Street Research in London.

Vodafone shares plunged over 4% despite the company announcing consensus-beating FY 2017 results (Adj. EBITDA +12% YoY organic, beating 10% guidance). It also comes ahead of the merger of its struggling Indian business with Idea Cellular, a deal that is expected to close in June.

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Total revenue fell 2.2% €46.6bn, reflecting foreign exchange headwinds and the negative impact from the deconsolidation of Vodafone Netherlands following the creation of the VodafoneZiggo joint venture with Liberty Global. In addition, we agreed the merger of Indus Towers and Bharti Infratel, allowing Vodafone to own a significant co-controlling stake in India's largest listed tower company.

The purchase gives Colao a major expansion for Vodafone, following years of deals to pull out of markets his predecessors pursued for growth.

Looking ahead, Vodafone expects to grow adjusted organic Ebitda by 1% to 5%, excluding the impact of United Kingdom handset financing in both years, and the significant benefit in the prior year from regulatory settlements in the United Kingdom and a legal settlement in Germany.

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