Vodafone rings the changes after double defection

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Vodafone was hit by a double resignation yesterday with the head of its troubled Japanese business and its respected southern European chief executive announcing plans to leave the company.

Vodafone was hit by a double resignation yesterday with the head of its troubled Japanese business and its respected southern European chief executive announcing plans to leave the company.

The world's biggest mobile phone operator has been struggling in Japan, its biggest market, where it saw operating profits fall more than 30 per cent last year. Yesterday it said Darryl Green, the chief executive of its Japanese business, had resigned but did not disclose if he would be receiving a pay-off. Mr Green's temporary replacement will be Brian Clark, the chief executive of Vodafone's Asia Pacific region.

However, Vodafone is understood to have appointed headhunters to find a permanent replacement for Mr Green and may look to make a Japanese appointment rather than bring in another westerner. Vodafone is now the number three player in Japan behind NTT DoCoMo and the KDDI Corporation, which could see their own executives targeted by Vodafone in its bid to restore its fortunes in Japan.

The departure of Vittorio Colao, the chief executive of Vodafone's Southern European, Middle East and Africa region, is another blow to Vodafone.

Mr Colao, 42, was seen as a possible future group chief executive. However, the Italian has been lured by the chance to run RCS Mediagroup, one of Italy's most highly respected and independent publishers which owns the leading Corriere della Sera newspaper. The Italian will be replaced by Vodafone's chief financial officer in the region, Pietro Guindani.

The resignations had only a marginal impact on Vodafone's share price, which dipped 1p to 122.75p, although the shares have fallen from more than 140p in early May. Analysts were sceptical that finding a replacement for Mr Green would be enough to turn its Japanese business around with more fundamental problems still dogging the company. Mark James, a telecoms analyst at Nomura, said: "There is no quick fix for Vodafone in Japan. One man doesn't run a company single-handed. The issues that Vodafone face in Japan are really quite stark. It is facing an increasingly competitive market with a handset offering which is inadequate and which will take time to fix."

That Vodafone was announcing two such senior operational resignations on the same day was also regrettable, Mr James said.

Comments