& cplSiteName &

Colao Revamps Vodafone Team

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) unveiled a major restructuring of its emerging markets business unit and hired a new CEO for its European businesses in a bid to spur growth.

After just six weeks into his new job as CEO of the world's largest operator by revenue, Vittorio Colao has wasted no time in introducing sweeping changes and positioning the operator for better growth than it has reported so far this year thanks to the slowing global economy. (See Vodafone Wobbles on Outlook, Carrier Scorecard: Vodafone, and Sarin Steps Down as Vodafone CEO.)

Vodafone has appointed Michel Combes, a former head of finance at Orange (NYSE: FTE), to become CEO of Vodafone's Europe region. The operator also revamped its emerging markets business, splitting it into two distinct units: one covering the Asia/Pacific region and another for the Central Europe and Africa regions.

As part of this restructuring, Vodafone also hived off its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless , which was previously part of the operator's emerging markets business unit, so that it can be managed directly by Colao, CFO Andy Halford, and Terry Kramer, the newly promoted group strategy and business improvement director.

The change in the management structure of Vodafone's holding in Verizon Wireless may well spark renewed speculation about whether Vodafone is preparing to sell off its stake in the U.S. mobile operator. But Verizon Wireless accounts for about 25 percent of Vodafone's adjusted operating profits, which is value that Vodafone is not likely to want to give up easily. (See Vodafone Plans LTE Powwow.)

Tough job for new Euro CEO
Vodafone's most difficult area at the moment is its Western European operations, which is the biggest part of the operator's business, accounting for 75 percent of revenues. Among these saturated markets, revenues are falling in key markets like Germany and Spain, even though mobile data revenues are growing at around 50 percent year-on-year.

To take charge of this troubled business, Vodafone has hired Michel Combes, a former head of finance at France Telecom, to become CEO of Vodafone's Europe region, the position previously held by Colao. (See NextNet, MVS Deliver VOIP and Carriers Under Siege From EC.)

Combes, whose name was recently in the frame to take over the top job at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), will start his new job on Oct. 1. He will arrive at Vodafone with expectations for cost cutting and cash generation, which is just what's needed in Vodafone's European operations.

While at France Telecom, Combes led the operator's own transformation project, dubbed NeXT (New Experience in Telecom Services), through which the French incumbent launched its converged services strategy and consolidated its international branding strategy with the Orange brand. (See Who Will Replace Russo? and France Telecom Launches NExT.)

After leaving France Telecom in 2006, Combes has spent the last two years at private-equity back TDF Group, which operates shared facilities and terrestrial networks in Europe.

Vodafone's Colao said in a statement: “I am pleased that we have recruited someone of Michel’s talents and expertise. I am confident that he will bring significant experience to Vodafone, given his impressive telecoms and entrepreneurial background.”

Emerging market revamp
Amidst at these changes, Paul Donovan, Vodafone's CEO of its EMAPA region (Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Affiliates) announced his resignation today and will leave the company at the end of the year. Vodafone has taken Donovan's division and split it into two units: Central Europe and Middle East, and Asia/Pacific, for which the operator said it will look for two regional CEOs.

The new regional units will better reflect Vodafone's strategy. In the Asia/Pacific, for example, Vodafone will look to build relationships where new markets are opening to competition. This business unit will comprise Vodafone's operations in Australia, New Zealand, India, and its 3 percent stake in China Mobile Communications Corp. (See China Mobile Joins LTE Threesome.)

The Central Europe and Africa unit will house Vodafone's businesses in Poland, Romania, Egypt, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. This is the region where Vodafone is looking to increase its presence in a big way. Vodafone just paid $900 million for a 70 percent stake in Ghana Telecom and the operator is still in talks with Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) about gaining a majority shareholding in Vodacom Pty. Ltd. (See Vodafone Turns Attention to Poland and Vodafone Buys Into Ghana for $900M.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Trump: Dump AT&T/TW & Comcast/NBC
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/24/2016
T-Mobile: AT&T & TW Means Ma Bell Not Focused on Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/24/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
'Oh, Were You Looking for This?' Click Here
'I was just playing some games...'
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.