Vodafone picks rival to head Japan unit

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Vodafone has raided its biggest competitor to find a new head for its Japanese business in an attempt to kick-start a stuttering performance in its largest single market.

Vodafone has raided its biggest competitor to find a new head for its Japanese business in an attempt to kick-start a stuttering performance in its largest single market.

The world's biggest mobile operator announced yesterday the appointment of Shiro Tsuda as president and chief executive of its Japanese operations.

Mr Tsuda, 58, who was passed over for the top job at Vodafone's biggest Japanese rival, NTT DoCoMo,has widespread experience in the market for third-generation mobile phone services, the key area in the Japanese market where Vodafone's performance has been particularly weak.

At its full-year results for the year to the end of March, Vodafone saidoperating profits fell 20 per cent in Japan as it lagged in 3G services. Its market share is 18.2 per cent, compared with 21.4 per cent for KDDI Corporation and 56.1 per cent for NTT DoCoMo. Japan accounts for one-quarter of Vodafone's total £31.7bn mobile phone sales but about only 10 per cent of operating profit.

While the resolution of Vodafone's Japanese leadership saw its share price rise 3p to 122p, analysts remained sceptical about Vodafone's prospects in Japan. Mark James, at Nomura, said: "I worry about what Mr Tsuda could do that his predecessor could not. I find it hard to see how you can redress the balance in a market fixated with technological advances if competitors continue to have more advanced handsets."

Comments