TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Vodafone CEO to leave after frustrating four years for shareholders

Vodafone CEO to leave after frustrating four years for shareholders

Nick Read will step down as Vodafone (VOD.L) chief executive by the end of the year, ending a four-year tenure during which the British telecom group's share price has nearly halved.

Once one of the biggest mobile operators in the world, Vodafone has been selling assets to focus on Europe and Africa, but the deals have not arrested its stock's decline.

Vodafone's board was unhappy with Read's lack of progress in delivering growth and has tasked his interim replacement, finance director Margherita Della Valle, with accelerating "the execution of the company's strategy to improve operational performance and deliver shareholder value".

The company warned on profit last month as energy costs soared, an already poor performance in its biggest market Germany worsened, and intense competition in Spain and Italy showed no sign of easing.

Read had pinned his hopes on the consolidation of Europe's fragmented telecoms markets but he struggled to turn intention into action. With the economic outlook darkening, the window for deals may be closing, analysts said.

Vodafone was outmanoeuvred in Spain when Orange and MasMovil agreed to merge in July, while there has been no answer to its Italian problem since it rejected an offer for its business there from French telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel's Iliad and Apax Partners in February.

Read did extract value from Vodafone's mobile towers by spinning them out and selling a chunk of the listed company to private equity firms Global Infrastructure Partners and KKR, and recently agreed to sell its Hungarian business.

Vodafone is also in talks to merge with Hutchison's Three in Britain, but it will be a race to get the deal over the line before Read leaves.

The towers deal and the UK talks were not enough to placate shareholders, however, who are focused on Vodafone's ability to navigate tougher economic conditions.

Vodafone's shares, which have fallen 45% since Read took over in October 2018, are trading just off two-decade lows.

"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 shares underperform


HEADWINDS

Vodafone's shares gave up early gains to trade 0.2% lower in afternoon deals.

"The next question is what solutions are really available to the next CEO?" Jefferies analysts wrote.

Vodafone faces "intractable headwinds", they said, adding that dividend policy should be treated as under review.

Niel, who bought a 2.5% stake in Vodafone in September, said in an emailed statement: "A change of CEO only makes sense if the new CEO has a clear roadmap from the board of directors."

He said the roadmap should include streamlining Vodafone, selling infrastructure to reduce debt, driving cash generation and improving margins and focusing on broadband in Germany.

He said his vehicle, Atlas Investissement, was ready to help the board design the best possible roadmap.

Read, 58, cut Vodafone's dividend for the first time in 2019, citing a worsening outlook, and need to cut debt and invest in networks.

The shares are supported by a dividend yield of more than 8%, but its forecast of around a 300 million euro fall in free cash flow this year worried investors.

Read, however, said last month the dividend was "intrinsically" linked to Vodafone's mid-term growth ambition.

The board has begun the search for new CEO, the company said.

Della Valle, who will receive the same base salary as Read, would be considered if she put her name forward, analysts said.

Read, who has spent more than 20 years at Vodafone and who will remain as an adviser until March, will receive his base pay of just over a million pounds until end-March 2023, and an amount in lieu of his salary for the remainder of his 12-month notice period, Vodafone said.

He will also receive up to 7,000 pounds for legal fees related to his departure and up to 50,000 pounds of "outplacement support", it added.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×