The CEO of Vodafone is to step down at the end of the year.

Nick Read has come to an agreement with the board of the mobile telecoms giant to leave the company after two decades of service, four of them in the top job.

He has 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, Read unveiled an £880 million plan to slash costs last month, with job cuts and price hikes expected across Europe. 

He will be available as an adviser to the company’s board until 31st March 2023.

Margherita Della Valle has been appointed as interim group chief executive while continuing as group CFO. The company has begun the search for a new permanent CEO.

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“During his four years as CEO, he led Vodafone through the pandemic, ensuring that our customers remained connected with their families and businesses,” said chairman Jean-François van Boxmeer. 

“He has focused Vodafone in Europe and Africa as a converged connectivity provider and led the industry in Europe in unlocking value from tower infrastructure.”

Read added: “It has been a privilege to spend over 20 years of my career at Vodafone and I am proud of what we have delivered for customers and society across Europe and Africa. 

“I agreed with the board that now is the right moment to hand over to a new leader who can build on Vodafone’s strengths and capture the significant opportunities ahead.”

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