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Britain's Vodafone Group said on Monday that Chief Executive Nick Read would step down at the end of this year and be replaced on an interim basis by finance chief Margherita Della Valle. During his four years in charge, Read led the mobile group through the pandemic, sold assets to increase its focus on Europe and Africa, and spun out its towers infrastructure into a separate unit.

Despite the changes its shares had remained in the doldrums and the group cut its full-year outlook last month.

"I agreed with the board that now is the right moment to hand over to a new leader who can build on Vodafone's strengths and capture the significant opportunities ahead," he said in a statement.

Nick Read will be available as an adviser to the Board until 31 March 2023.

Margherita Della Valle, who has been appointed interim Group Chief Executive, will accelerate the execution of the company's strategy to improve operational performance and deliver shareholder value, Vodafone said. 

“In addition to being appointed interim Group Chief Executive, Margherita Della Valle will also continue as Group Chief Financial Officer. The Board has initiated a process to find a new Group Chief Executive," the company said. 

Nick Read had joined Vodafone Group in 2001, holding local, regional, and global senior executive roles until his appointment as CEO in 2018. Prior to joining Vodafone, he held senior global finance positions with United Business Media Plc and Federal Express Worldwide.

Nick Read, Group Chief Executive said: "It has been a privilege to spend over 20 years of my career at Vodafone and I am proud of what we have delivered for customers and society across Europe and Africa. I agreed with the Board that now is the right moment to hand over to a new leader who can build on Vodafone's strengths and capture the significant opportunities ahead".

In a statement, Jean-François van Boxmeer, Chairman of Vodafone, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Nick for his commitment and significant contribution to Vodafone as Group Chief Executive and throughout his career spanning more than two decades with the company."

 

 

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