Vodafone has announced that after five years in the role Arun Sarin will be retiring as Chief Executive at the end of the Company’s AGM on 29th July 2008. He will be succeeded by Deputy Chief Executive Vittorio Colao.
Sarin steps down as the company announces their year end results which show Group revenue of £35.5 billion, an increase of 14.1%,
Arun Sarin became Chief Executive in July 2003 and over the last five years has led the company through a period of significant change, both strategic and organisational. Under his leadership Vodafone has developed and implemented a new strategy to become a total communications company, which is already delivering results.
As part of its strategy Vodafone has also expanded into emerging markets including Romania, Czech Republic, Turkey, and most recently, India where Arun Sarin led the acquisition of Hutchison Essar, which is the largest foreign investment made in the country. In portfolio management, during this time the Company also disposed of its businesses in Japan and Sweden, together with interests in Switzerland and Belgium.
In Europe the new strategy has delivered innovative products, improved revenue and significant cost reduction. Organisationally the Company has been structured to take advantage of its significant global footprint by becoming an integrated business with a clear distinction between global and local activities. During his time as Chief Executive the Company has also grown its proportionate customer base from 120 million to more than 260 million globally and over this period Vodafone has consistently delivered strong results.
Returns to shareholders over this period have also been very positive with dividends increasing from 1.69p to 7.51p, an increase of more than 400%. He has also built a new senior management team and taken the lead on major industry issues, including mobile broadband and internet services.
Commenting, Chairman Sir John Bond said: “Arun has done a tremendous job as Chief Executive. He has led the Company with distinction and navigated Vodafone through a period of rapid change. He has developed a new strategy for the business and significantly expanded our footprint in emerging markets. The acquisition in India was very well timed and executed. The Board has a great deal to thank him for and I would like personally to thank him for all he has done for the business and wish him and his family all the best for the future. In Vittorio Colao we have a fine successor and I am looking forward to working with him in his new role.”
Arun Sarin said: “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. 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. I know that the business is in capable hands with Vittorio Colao.”