Vodafone Group Plc has appointed interim chief executive Margherita Della Valle to the role on a permanent basis.

CFO Della Valle had taken the role on an interim basis following the exit of Nick Read, who left the mobile telecoms giant late last year after two decades of service and four years in the top job.

Read had overseen a 40% drop in its share price and several mega-deals as CEO, including the €18 billion acquisition of Liberty Global’s German business and sale of its European towers arm in a €20bn float.

Amid falling profits, Vodafone unveiled an £880 million plan to slash costs in November.

Della Valle was appointed “following a rigorous internal and external search”, said Jean-François van Boxmeer, Vodafone Group chairman.

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“Margherita has a strong track record during her long career at Vodafone in marketing, operational, commercial and financial positions. Over the last few months as interim group chief executive, the board and I have been impressed with her pace and decisiveness to begin the necessary transformation of Vodafone. 

“Margherita has the full support of myself and the board for her plans for Vodafone to provide better customer experience, become a simpler business and accelerate growth.”

Della Valle will also continue as group CFO until an external search for a replacement is complete.

“I am honoured to have been appointed as group chief executive. Vodafone has a unique position in Europe and Africa with strong customer relationships, networks and people,” she said.

“To realise our potential Vodafone needs to change. We know we can do better. My focus will be to improve the service for our customers, simplify our business and grow.” platform ‘to detect age-related diseases earlier’