Light Reading

Colao Revamps Vodafone Team

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

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
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
Wind River Demonstrates Carrier-Grade Software for NFV

4|22|14   |   5:00   |   (0) comments


Wind River VP of Product Management, Glenn Seiler, takes a look the industry's first and only complete NFV software platform designed specifically for the unique carrier-grade and high-performance needs of telecom networks.
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyes Big Technology Shifts

4|16|14   |   03:02   |   (4) comments


US cable engineers are facing a lot of heavy lifting in the coming years, notes Light Reading Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick.
LRTV Custom TV
Maximizing Customer Experience & Assuring Service Delivery in an IP World

4|15|14   |   4:57   |   (0) comments


Steven Shalita, VP of Marketing, NetScout Systems, Inc., discusses the challenges cable/MSO operators face in assuring the delivery of new IP-based services. Key points include the value of proactively managing performance, and using rich analytics and operational intelligence to better understand service and usage trends, make smarter business decisions and ...
LRTV Documentaries
Bye-Bye DVD: Consumers Embrace Digital Video

4|10|14   |   04:17   |   (7) comments


Veteran video analyst Colin Dixon, founder and principal analyst of nScreenMedia, says research shows 56% are using digital video already.
LRTV Documentaries
Video: TW Cable Puts Multicast Gateways to the Test

4|8|14   |   04:13   |   (1) comment


Tom Gonder, a chief architect at Time Warner Cable, explains how its trial of multicast gateways is impacting IP-based video plans.
LRTV Custom TV
Managing & Monetizing Big Data in Operator Environments

4|7|14   |     |   (1) comment


At Mobile World Congress, Gigamon's Director of Service Provider Solutions, Andy Huckridge, and Heavy Reading Analyst Sarah Wallace discuss the 'big data' issues facing carriers and operators today.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Data Center Energy – Build Your Data Center in a Modular Way

4|7|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


Dr. Fang Liangzhou, VP Network Energy Product Line, shared his thoughts about the challenges for data centers during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Agile Network Solution – An Overview of Huawei's Agile Network Solution

4|7|14   |   2:31   |   (0) comments


Ajay Gupta, Director of Product Marketing, Networking Product Line, gives an overview of the Agile Network Solutions during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s eLTE Voice Trunking, Video and Data Applied for Railways

4|7|14   |   1:38   |   (0) comments


Gottfried Winter is the Sales Director at Funkwerk, a German specialist in GSM-r terminals and a long-time partner of Huawei. At CeBIT 2014, Winter talks to Light Reading about this partnership and the integration of enhanced voice trunking, video and data functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
LeaseWeb Speaks Highly of Huawei's Datacenter Products

4|7|14   |   1:37   |   (0) comments


Rene Olde Olthof, Operations Director LeaseWeb, talks about the next data center transformation during CeBIT 2014.
LRTV Documentaries
Comcast: Reshaping the Cable Network Architecture

4|3|14   |   07:11   |   (8) comments


Shamim Akhtar, Comcast's architect and senior director of network strategy, explains why the cable company is moving to a more distributed network architecture.
LRTV Custom TV
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger at Mobile World Congress

4|1|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks to Heavy Reading about the value of virtualization spanning from the data center to service provider networks to mobile devices.
Hot Topics
WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/18/2014
The Hungry, Hungry Cloud
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2014
Who's Ready to Play Broadband?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/21/2014
Volvo: AT&T HSPA+ Can Drive My Car
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 4/16/2014
Report: NFV/SDN Standards 'Myopic' on Service Management
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed