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Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao to step down in October

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Vittorio Colao, chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc, poses for a photograph in London, on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.

Jason Alden | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Vittorio Colao, chief executive officer of Vodafone Group Plc, poses for a photograph in London, on Monday, Sept. 2, 2013.

Vodafone Chief Executive Vittorio Colao will step down in October after 10 years in which he reshaped the world’s second largest mobile operator into a digital communications powerhouse with a string of major deals.

Colao will be replaced by Nick Read, finance director since 2014 and long seen as the likely successor due to his role in running Vodafone‘s operations in Britain and the Africa, Middle East and Asia Pacific region.

He will take charge of a group that, under Colao, pulled back from its once brazen expansionist drive to be able to build up its European operations from a pure mobile player to a broader communications provider that offers everything from cable TV to broadband and enterprise services.

Just last week Colao, 56, struck a long-expected $21.8 billion deal to buy Liberty Global‘s cable TV and broadband networks in Germany and Eastern Europe.

But he will be best remembered for one of the world’s biggest deals – the $130 billion sale of its joint venture holding with U.S. group Verizon.

“(Colao) has been an exemplary leader and strategic visionary who has overseen a dramatic transformation of Vodafone into a global pacesetter in converged communications, ready for the Gigabit future,” Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee said.

Vodafone is also merging its operations in the highly competitive Indian mobile market with Idea Cellular.

In Read, investors will get a new chief executive long groomed for the job.

Having joined Vodafone in 2001 he has held a number of roles including sitting on the boards of the company’s listed operations in Africa and Qatar, its subsidiaries in India and Egypt and its joint venture in Australia.

“Nick has been the co-architect of the Group’s strategy together with Vittorio,” Kleisterlee said.

Read will be replaced by his deputy since 2015, Margherita Della Valle. The Italian has previously held other financial and marketing roles within the group after she joined Omnitel Pronto Italia – which later became Vodafone Italy – in 1994.

The announcement came as the company reported a 1.4 percent rise in organic service revenue for its fourth quarter, beating analyst forecasts of a 1.1 percent rise.

Full year core earnings rose 11.8 percent to 14.7 billion euros, beating guidance for “around 10 percent” organic growth and just ahead of analyst forecasts of 14.6 billion euros.

For 2019, the group forecast organic adjusted core earnings growth of between 1 and 5 percent, and free cash flow before spectrum costs of at least 5.2 billion euros, slightly down on the 2018 number of 5.4 billion euros.



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Tesla hires new chief financial officer for China

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Elon Musk, Chairman, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors, addresses a press conference to declare that the Tesla Motors releases v7.0 System in China on a limited basis for its Model S, which will enable self-driving features such as Autosteer for a select group of beta testers on October 23, 2015 in Beijing, China.

VCG | Getty Images

Elon Musk, Chairman, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors, addresses a press conference to declare that the Tesla Motors releases v7.0 System in China on a limited basis for its Model S, which will enable self-driving features such as Autosteer for a select group of beta testers on October 23, 2015 in Beijing, China.

Tesla Inc on Friday announced a number of key executive hires including former GE and General Motors executive James Zhou as its China CFO and Neeraj Manrao, a former Apple executive, as director of energy manufacturing.

Zhou previously served as CFO for Asia Pacific and India for Ingersoll Rand.

“We’re excited to welcome a group of such talented people as we continue to ramp (up) Model 3,” Tesla said in a blog post, adding it would announce more hires in the coming days.

China contributed around 17 percent of Tesla’s total revenue in 2017 and the electric carmaker has said it plans to build a gigafactory in the country.

The company on Wednesday slashed up to $14,000 off its Model X in China after Beijing announced major tariff cuts for imported automobiles.

Tesla has seen the departure of several senior executives and is also flattening its management structure as it seeks to improve efficiency and clear up production bottlenecks related to its new Model 3 sedan.



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Foot Locker shares are jumping 16% after a blowout earnings report

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Shoppers and pedestrians pass in front of a Foot Locker store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California.

Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Shoppers and pedestrians pass in front of a Foot Locker store on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California.

Shares of shoe retailer Foot Locker surged Friday after the company reported earnings well ahead of Wall Street expectations.

The stock rallied more than 16 after the New York-based company reported adjusted earnings per share at $1.45 for the first quarter, above consensus estimates of $1.25 from FactSet.

The shoe store posted revenue of $2.03 billion, which also beat forecasts.

“The flow of premium product continues to improve, with increasing breadth and depth in the most sought-after styles from our key vendors,” CEO Richard Johnson said in a statement. “This led to first quarter results which were above our expectations. With the strength of our strategic vendor partnerships and our central position in youth culture, we continue to believe that we are poised to inflect to positive comparable-store sales growth.”

Foot Locker has been in hot water in recent months as Wall Street grows increasingly concerned with retailers. Fears that e-commerce giant Amazon may seek to expand into apparel have made it a tough year for Foot Locker shares, now down more than 22 percent over the past 12 months.

Last June, popular shoemaker Nike confirmed plans to sell a limited product assortment on Amazon’s U.S. website.

According to a 2017 survey by UBS, 13 percent of respondents indicated that they prefer to purchase Nike products on Amazon compared with the 9 percent who said they prefer to purchase the same products at Foot Locker.



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Roku shares jump after short-seller Citron reverses negative call

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People pass by a video sign display with the logo for Roku Inc, a Fox-backed video streaming firm, that held it's IPO at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York, U.S., September 28, 2017.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

People pass by a video sign display with the logo for Roku Inc, a Fox-backed video streaming firm, that held it’s IPO at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York, U.S., September 28, 2017.

Shares of Roku spiked Friday after short-seller Citron Research said it is reversing its negative view on the maker of streaming players, given a major shift away from the traditional cable television subscription model.

“The move to cutting the cord and [over-the-top] advertising is real and it is a megatrend that Citron not only does not want to be short, but at this valuation I want to be long,” the research firm, headed by Andrew Left, said in a report Friday.

Roku shares briefly climbed more than 4.5 percent before paring gains to trade around $37 a share. The stock is down 28 percent for the year so far.

After the company went public in late November, the stock soared above $50 and Citron said it tweeted the stock would fall back to $28.

“BUT NOW EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED, AND IT IS TIME TO REEVALUATE,” the report said, in red capital letters.



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