He joined Vodafone in 2001 as UK finance director, before serving stints as UK chief commercial officer and UK chief executive. Vodafone did not reveal the reason for the departure of Vittorio Colao, who tried to transform the telecom group. During the decade under his leadership, Vodafone has been transformed from a consumer-focused 2G/3G mobile operator to one of the world's leading converged communications companies with a diverse portfolio including the largest mobile and fixed next-generation network in Europe, a significant worldwide enterprise division, and global leadership in the "Internet of Things".
Vodafone now has 16.1 million broadband customers, of which 9.9 million are fibre or cable, while it also has 9.9 million TV customers.
Read attained his present post in 2014 following a successful spell at the group's emerging markets division spanning Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. "I would also add that the appointment of Nick and Margherita serves as a testament to the strength and depth of the Vodafone senior leadership team that Vittorio has assembled and led over the last decade".
Gerard Kleisterlee, chairman of Vodafone, said Colao's tenure had been "outstanding". "He 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".
"While the succession news may have caught the markets off-guard, it appears to be an orderly change within the group", Accendo Markets analyst Artjom Hatsaturjants said as Vodafone's share price dropped 2.6 percent in London morning deals.
"Losses continued in India as service revenue declined 18.7 per cent as a result of intense price competition from the new entrant, aggressive competitor responses and a significant reduction in MTRs (mobile termination rates)", Vodafone said.
After 10 years of stability under Colao, Vodafone is potentially setting sail into uncharted waters under the guidance of an executive that has been with the company only 4 years and has less top level experience than the markets would have been fully comfortable with.
"Our sustained investment in network quality supported robust commercial momentum", he added. "The chapter that Vodafone is now starting to write is a completely new chapter", he said, pointing to the Liberty deal and a pending merger of Vodafone's India business with Idea Cellular.
Looking ahead, Vodafone expects to grow adjusted organic Ebitda by 1% to 5%, excluding the impact of United Kingdom handset financing in both years, and the significant benefit in the prior year from regulatory settlements in the United Kingdom and a legal settlement in Germany.