So Tough at the Top
We never even saw anybody say, out loud at least, that letting Groupe Cegetel, and hence number-two French mobile operator SFR, slip from his grasp while principal shareholder Vivendi Universal was weighed down with debt and corporate restructuring issues was a bit of a cock-up. Especially as adding the French operator to the majority-controlled fold would have counted as a massive coup, boosted group revenues, and added to the company's economies of scale (see All Eyes on France and Vodafone Loses SFR Battle). However, it's not like Gent hasn't built a business that generates significant amounts of cash (see Vodafone's Data Barometer), and the confirmation of his departure from the hot seat was not met with glee by the financial markets. Vodafone's shares dipped today, though only by 1.6 percent to $17.81. Obviously, this is only a minor tribute. We will take time to properly appreciate Sir Chris's contribution to the wireless world closer to his date of departure. Any anecdotes from the past few years will be gratefully received, of course.
— Ray Le Maistre, European Editor, Unstrung