& cplSiteName &

Colao Revamps Vodafone Team

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
9/9/2008
50%
50%

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
From The Founder
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
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 Interviews
EdgeConneX on Industry Headwinds & Tailwinds

5|26|17   |   2:41   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017, EdgeConneX CTO Don MacNeil discussed the value of partnerships in the digital world.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (0) comments


Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.