Vodafone splits Europe into northern, southern units

Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao reorganised of the company's European operations into northern and southern units, as the company revamps its overall structure for the third time in four years. 


Colao has placed its struggling operations in Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain into its southern European unit under Paolo Bertoluzzo--head of Vodafone's Italian business, while the more successful Dutch, German, Turkish and UK operations will provide the backbone to its northern and central European unit.

This north European unit, which generated revenues that helped Vodafone to beat expectations for revenue last quarter, will be managed by Philipp Humm, who quit as CEO of T-Mobile USA, owned by Vodafone rival Deutsche Telekom.

Vodafone's reshaping of its European structure is the third company restructuring since 2008, and is said by people close to the situation to partly allow Colao to identify suitable succession candidates, according to Bloomberg.

"The division of the role in two parts tells you that Colao will stay on for a couple of years," Robin Bienenstock, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein in London, told Bloomberg. Vodafone's former European head, Michel Combes, was seen as a deputy to the CEO, Bienenstock said. Now, "there may be a less clear-cut path to the top."

Humm will start his new role on Oct. 1,  and will join Bertoluzzo on Vodafone's executive committee, with Bertoluzzo also continuing as CEO of Vodafone Italy. Serpil Timuray, the head of Vodafone Turkey, has also been recognised and given greater responsibilities including chairing a committee overseeing the Vodafone brand.

Humm joined Deutsche Telekom in 2005 and was initially responsible for the company's mobile business in Germany. In 2008 he moved to having responsibility of managing the sales and service activities of the European mobile companies within Deutsche Telekom before taking over as CEO of T-Mobile USA in May 2010.

Combes will stay with Vodafone for several months to help with the restructuring, acting as interim CEO of the northern unit until Humm arrives.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Daily Telegraph article
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Capital gr article

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