PanamaTimes

Monday, May 20, 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

PanamaTimes
0:00
0:00
Close
El Salvador's Bitcoin Holdings Reach $350 Million
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Apple Unveils New iPad Pro with M4 Chip, Misleading AI Claims
OpenAI to Announce Google Search Competitor
Apple Apologizes for Controversial iPad Pro Ad Featuring Instrument Destruction
German politician of the AFD party, Marie-Thérèse Kaiser was just convicted & fined $6,000+
Changpeng Zhao Sentenced to Four Months in Jail
Biden Administration to Relax Marijuana Regulations
101-Year-Old Woman Mistaken for a Baby by American Airlines: Comical Mix-Up during Flight Check-in
King Charles and Camilla enjoying the Inuit voice singing performance in Canada.
New Study: Vaping May Lower Fertility in Women Trying to Get Pregnant
U.S. DOJ Seeks Three-Year Sentence for Binance Founder Changpeng Zhao
Headlines - Thursday, 23 April 2024
Illinois Woman Wins $45M Lawsuit Against Johnson & Johnson and Kenvue for Mesothelioma Linked to Baby Powder
Panama's lates news for Friday, April 19
Creative menu of a Pizza restaurant..
You can be a very successful player, but a player with character is another level!
Experience the Future of Dining: My Visit to an AI-Powered Burger Joint
Stabbing rampage terror attack in Sydney, at least four people killed, early reports that a baby was among those stabbed.
Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight. Israel Reports Light Damage After Iran Launches Large Strike.
I will never get enough of his videos and the pure joy and beauty of these women!!
Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an "invisibility cloak", for AI using adversarial patterns on a sweater, making the wearer nearly undetectable to standard object detection methods.
Lamborghini Bids Farewell to Its Best-Selling Sports Car: The Huracán
Sam Bankman-Fried Appeals 25-Year Prison Sentence for $8bn FTX Fraud
OJ Simpson, ex-NFL star who was acquitted of murder, dies aged 76
British Backpacker Imprisoned in Notorious Bolivian Prison: Family Raises Funds for Legal Fight and Essentials
Argentina: Venezuela Cuts Power to Embassy after Opposition Meeting
El Salvador Offers 5,000 Passports to Skilled Foreign Workers: Tax-Free Relocation and Citizenship
Panama Papers Trial Begins: Founders of Mossack Fonseca Face Money-Laundering Charges
75 Becomes the New 65: Retiring in Your 60s Unrealistic as Life Expectancy Increases and Costs Rise
Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: 32 Million Witness the Mystical, $1.5bn Spectacle Sweep Across North America
New shopping experience…
New world, new reality, let’s get used to it
UK Company Passes Milestone in Developing Space-Based Solar Power, Aiming to Power a Million Homes and Provide Constant Energy
Mexico Breaks Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador after Police Storm Embassy, Arrest Former Vice President
Monty Python were so ahead of their time
If there's a will, there's a way!
Rules about how to dress are important, but not so much if you have a lot of money.
Body Armor Firm Showcases Stab-Proof Vest in Demo on CEO
Mexico Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Ecuador After Embassy Stormed in Quito
Here is a tattoo idea, for engineers
Zoraya Ter Beek, a 28-year-old woman from the Netherlands, will undergo euthanasia in May due to severe mental health challenges
Here's a video featuring Fidel Castro, where he discusses his stance against war and his commitment to preserving life, positions that have put him at odds with the USA:
Woman reaches behind and steals gun from a security guard and shoots three people while getting detained in Chile
Take a walk around the safe and thriving downtown San Salvador.
Joe Biden criticised by Trump campaign for declaring Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday
Macron says France will help Brazil develop nuclear-powered submarines
A video demonstrating women's self defense class in 1930
×