Vodafone CEO Nick Read will step down after four-year term, telecom company says

Vodafone chief executive Nick Read will step down, the British telecom group said on Monday, after a four-year term marked by a sharp decline in the company’s share price.

Read will leave his role at the end of December after more than 20 years at the group, a statement said.

He will be replaced on a temporary basis by VodafoneCFO of Margherita Della Valle, who will continue in her current role while Vodafone searches for a permanent replacement.

His surprise resignation comes after Vodafone recently announced fixed income for the first half of the year and after its share price fell nearly 20% this year.

“I have agreed with the board that now is the right time to hand over to a new leader who can leverage Vodafone’s strengths and seize the important opportunities ahead,” Read said in the statement.

He left Vodafone in talks about merging its UK operations with rival Three UK, owned by Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison.

Vodafone believes the combination will accelerate the rollout of 5G telecommunications technology in the UK, which has been hampered in part by the UK’s ban on Chinese giant Huawei from participating in technology that offers fast download speeds. more than 4G.

Vodafone’s share price was unchanged at GBP 91 (about Rs 9,000) following Monday’s announcement.

Russ Mould, chief investment officer at AJ Bell, notes: “With stocks falling to their lowest levels in more than 20 years, it’s hard to describe Vodafone CEO Nick Read’s departure from the tenure as anything. nothing but a disappointment.”

“Read’s final set of results last month didn’t work in his favor at all, as Vodafone downgraded its full-year guidance.”

He is also under pressure from major investor Cevian Capital, which recently cut its stake in Vodafone.

However, Read “helped steer the telecom giant through the challenges of the pandemic, supporting connectivity as individuals and households were forced to stay at home during the strict lockdown,” Victoria Scholar said. , said the head of investment at Interactive Investor.

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