Vodafone has been through some pretty dire times in its recent financial history but the tide appears to be turning on the back of its latest results and the telco's CEO has decided to stand down while the going's good.
Money first, with Vodafone reporting a strong return to profits of £6.66bn (devil in the details?) for the 12 months to March 2008 compared to the heavy net loss of £4.93bn the year before. Annual sales also jumped 14.1 per cent overall to £35.5bn with a major increase in data use (up 52.7 per cent to £2.2bn) a key driver. The results were slightly ahead of analyst expectations.
"Our strategy is continuing to deliver strong results and is reinforcing our leadership position in the communications industry," said Arun Sarin, Vodafone's CEO, who is going out on a high after also announcing his intention to step down in July. He will be replaced by Deputy CEO Vittorio Colao who has been long expected to eventually take over the role.
"It has been a privilege to lead Vodafone for the last five years and to have been involved in the company for such a long time," said Sarin in a separate statement. "I feel that I have accomplished what I set out to achieve, particularly in developing and implementing a new strategy. I am very proud of what Vodafone and its 71,000 people have achieved and the good momentum we have in the marketplace."
Vodafone has been making smart moves in recent times - slashing mobile broadband prices and reducing airtime contract costs while also landing the iPhone in no less than 10 countries - so it has to be commended. You've big shoes to fill Vittorio...