Vodafone re-jig puts increased onus on marketing

The mobile phone operator Vodafone has rejigged its senior management team in a move that will give it a chief marketing officer for the first time.

The moves follow Vodafone's annual strategy meeting - a three-day-event held last week and attended by Vodafone's senior management team including Sir Christopher Gent, the chief executive, and Arun Sarin, who replaces Sir Christopher next month.

The company has decided, in effect, to split Thomas Geitner's current role - he is in charge of products and services including marketing - into two.

From the beginning of next month, Mr Geitner will be in charge of technology and business integration as chief technology officer, looking after all of the IT and network systems behind the company's new services.

Peter Bamford, who is currently in charge of the northern Europe, Middle East and Africa region, will look after product launches in his new role of chief marketing officer.

As a result, Vodafone has also divided up Mr Bamford's responsibilities. Jürgen von Kuczkowski, who runs its operation in Germany, has been named as head of the northern Europe region, while Vittorio Colao, who is head of the southern Europe region will take on the Middle East and Africa regions as well.

For the time being, Mr Bamford will retain responsibility for operations in the UK and Ireland while Mr Geitner will retain responsibility for Arcor - Vodafone's fixed-line telecoms business in Germany.

Sir Christopher said: "It is now time to move to the next stage of the evolution towards a highly customer focused and operationally efficient business providing the best products and services across the greatest number of markets when compared to our competitors.

"The creation of central Marketing and Technology and Business Integration functions, led by Peter Bamford and Thomas Geitner, will enable Vodafone to maintain its leadership at a time of change in our industry."