Light Reading
Vodafone split its emerging markets business into two units and hires a new CEO for Europe

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
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (10) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (0) comments


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
Comcast Turns Off Streampix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed