Vodafone is a corporate zombie – it will take more than job cuts to revive it


Vodafone is in need of a complete overhaul from top to bottomotherwise it is in danger of becoming stuck in a sort of corporate zombieland – shuffling around but not really going anywhere.

The first step towards an eventual return to the land of the living must be to put the rocket-boosters under the search for a new chief executive.

Vodafone has more than 100,000 employees and a stock market value of £25bn. It is regrettable to say the least that a company of its size and stature allowed its boss to walk out the door without ensuring that a permanent successor wasn’t in place first.

The dissatisfaction with Read’s tenure was glaringly obvious – even the most cursory glance at Vodafone’s share price would tell you that.

The shares had been a steady downward trajectory for the entirety of his stewardship but by the time he departed at the beginning of December, they were 40pc lower and had slipped beneath the 100p level for the first time since 1997 – an awkward statistic for someone who had recently been extolling the virtues of “value creation” and was paid more than £4m in his final 12 months.

Perhaps no one wanted the job, which explains why finance chief Margherita Della Valle has taken over on a temporary basis – as if overseeing the financial affairs of an overly-indebted global telecoms giant wasn’t enough on its own.

An outsider is clearly needed – someone sufficiently unburdened to take a dispassionate view and oversee a radical shake-up in a way that Read failed to.


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