Vodafone has named Philips Electronics chief Gerard Kleisterlee as its next chairman following a year-long search for a successor to current chair Sir John Bond.
The Phillips staffer will take the helm when Bond steps down after six years at the helm during Vodafone’s AGM in July.
Bond expressed his delight at Kleisterlee’s appointment following a recruitment process that was initiated in February 2010, and praised the incoming chairman’s track record at Phillips.
Kleisterlee will quit the Dutch electronics firm in March after a decade in charge. Vodafone will appoint him as a non-executive director in April.
Bond and his deputy John Buchanan faced opposition to their re-election at Vodafone’s 2010 AGM due to the carrier’s acquisition record.
A spokeswoman for the Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan – one of the main voices of dissent during the AGM – said the group welcomed Kleisterlee’s appointment. “He has a very good track record, having made significant improvements at Philips over the past ten years or so, both operationally and strategically,” Deborah Allan told Telecoms Europe.net.
Much of the shareholder unrest centered on Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, which the UK-based firm has not seen any dividend from since 2005.
CEO Vittorio Colao sparked rumors the holding could be sold when the carrier restructured its operations in October - placing Verizon, SFR, and Polkomtel under his direct control.