Sunday, 03 July 2022

Vodafone bolsters board with double appointment

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Monday 09 May 22

With stakeholders calling for a reshuffle, Vodafone has appointed the ex-head of chip company Arm and the former president of France’s public broadcaster, France Télévisions, as non-executive board members

With its financial performance stuttering, Vodafone Group is hoping a pair of new voices in its board of directors will help revitalise the company’s fortunes.  Vodafone has now announced the appointment of Simon Segars, ex-CEO of Arm, and Delphine Cunci, previous head of France Télévisions, as non-executive board members. Segars spent almost 21 years at UK…

With its financial performance stuttering, Vodafone Group is hoping a pair of new voices in its board of directors will help revitalise the company’s fortunes. 

Vodafone has now announced the appointment of Simon Segars, ex-CEO of Arm, and Delphine Cunci, previous head of France Télévisions, as non-executive board members.

Segars spent almost 21 years at UK-based chip giant Arm and had served as the company’s CEO and President since 2013. He stepped down from the role in February following the collapse of Arm’s $66 billion takeover by Nvidia.

Cunci, meanwhile, served as the president of France Télévisions since 2015, prior to which she spent 26 years at Orange, giving her a wealth of telecoms experience on which to draw.

“They are well-respected leaders who bring extensive experience and track records of value creation across the telecoms, technology and media sectors,” said Vodafone Chairman Jean-Francois van Boxmeer. “I look forward to Delphine and Simon’s valuable contribution as the Board and management team work closely together to drive the execution of Vodafone’s strategy, to achieve our commercial and portfolio priorities and deliver long-term value for shareholders.”

The appointments come partly in response to the pressure applied to Vodafone by activist investor Cevian Capital, which took an undisclosed stake in the operator group back in January.

Following the investment, Cevian immediately called for Vodafone to drive harder for industry consolidation and to reshuffle its board of directors, which it claimed lacked telecoms experience. 

Cevian, which manages roughly $15 billion of shares in its portfolio, has a history of targeting conglomerates they believe are being run inefficiently, typically aiming to simplify their management structure and shed underperforming businesses.

Consolidation has been a major focus for Vodafone for many years now, but so far their plans have met with limited success. CEO Nick Read has repeatedly argued that the European telecoms industry is ripe for mergers and acquisitions, saying in February that he was in talks for tie-ups in the UK, Germany, Italy, and Spain. 

Just yesterday, Vodafone UK boss Ahmed Essam called on regulators to look more kindly on consolidation, saying that the telecoms industry had been “suffering for decades” under the strict controls.

 

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