Vodafone Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao will step down after a decade at the helm in October and be succeeded by Chief Financial Officer Nick Read.
The surprise announcement, in financial results released by Vodafone on Tuesday, comes as Colao seeks to close a $22-billion agreement to acquire cable assets in Europe from Liberty Global Plc, which would cap years of reshaping the Newbury, England-based Vodafone as a predominantly European carrier.
The Liberty deal, the biggest purchase by Vodafone under the 56-year-old Colao, follows years of on-and-off talks between the two companies. Colao’s tenure has more so been marked by pulling Vodafone away from markets outside Europe where his predecessors sought growth, including a merger of the company’s Indian operations with Idea Cellular Ltd. seen by analysts as a prelude to a possible exit.
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Vodafone forecast full-year organic adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of between 14.15 billion euros ($18.86 billion) and 14.65 billion euros, compared with the average estimate of 14.6 billion euros.
Organic service revenue -- what Vodafone gets from customers’ plans and traffic on its networks excluding handset sales -- rose 1.4 percent in the three months through Mar. 31, compared with growth of 1 percent forecast by the average of five estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
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