Vodafone is under pressure from a billionaire French shareholder to accelerate cost-cutting and asset sales after the ousting of its chief executive.
Vodafone chief executive Nick Read will step down at the end of this month following a turbulent year in which the company’s share price has tumbled and management has faced criticism from investors. Read, who has led the telecoms group since 2018, will be replaced on an interim basis by Margherita Della Valle, Vodafone’s chief financial officer, while it seeks a successor. Read has struggled to convince investors of his ability to improve the group’s performance and increase its share price.
Vodafone has finally answered investors’ calls, parting ways with chief executive Nick Read after four lacklustre years. It is true that European telecoms has been a miserable investor experience all round but Read has done little to ease the pain. Improving Vodafone’s investment case would have required more or less three things: simplifying the group’s complex conglomerate structure, reducing its debt and improving how it was run.