Nearly five months after previous CEO Nick Read’s departure, Vodafone says it has been “impressed” by Margherita Della Valle’s efforts to steady the ship
Today, Vodafone Group has announced that it has appointed the company’s interim CEO and Chief Financial Officer, Margherita Della Valle, to serve as Group CEO.
Della Valle took over the reins at Vodafone as interim CEO at the start of 2023, following the departure of previous CEO Nick Read, who had held the position for four years.
Vodafone had been facing increasing pressure from activist investors, such as Cevian Capital, to make management changes after Read had failed to put the brakes on the telecom giant’s sliding share price.
Since her appointment, Della Valle has been at the heart of a company-wide strategic shift aiming to reverse this trend, including a greater focus on core markets and various cost-cutting measures.
Her approach has seemingly garnered her much support from investors, particularly from the company’s largest shareholder, Emirati-based e&, which has been gradually increasing its stake in Vodafone for a number of months, seemingly enticed by its depressed share price. Indeed, just earlier this week, e& announced that it had increased its stake from 14% to 14.6% for an undisclosed sum, as well as having entered into discussions with the company over its non-executive directors.
“On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Margherita as Group Chief Executive, following a rigorous internal and external search,” said Jean-François van Boxmeer, Vodafone Group Chairman. “Margherita has a strong track record during her long career at Vodafone in marketing, operational, commercial and financial positions. Over the last few months as interim Group Chief Executive, the Board and I have been impressed with her pace and decisiveness to begin the necessary transformation of Vodafone. Margherita has the full support of myself and the Board for her plans for Vodafone to provide better customer experience, become a simpler business and accelerate growth.”
In accepting the role, Della Valle acknowledged that there is still much work to be done to turn Vodafone’s fortunes around.
“I am honoured to have been appointed as Group Chief Executive. Vodafone has a unique position in Europe and Africa with strong customer relationships, networks and people,” said Della Valle. “To realise our potential Vodafone needs to change. We know we can do better. My focus will be to improve the service for our customers, simplify our business and grow.”
Della Valle will continue to also hold the role of Chief Financial Officer until a replacement can be found.