After five years heading up the world's largest wireless operator, Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin announced that he will step down on July 29. Sarin will be replaced by his deputy and the current head of Europe operations, Vittorio Colao, who was widely expected to be his successor.
The move surprised many. Sarin said that he had achieved all he set out to do and 'felt the time was right' to leave. He is expected to move into the private equity world and also take on several non-executive board seats at large international companies. Ovum analyst Jeremy Green says that Sarin managed to leave Vodafone on a high note with the group's performance beating its guidance in terms of revenue, adjusted operating profit and free cash flow.
Sarin is a long-time telecom veteran. He headed Pacific Telesis Group in San Francisco and also spent time at its AirTouch subsidiary. Following the takeover by Vodafone, he became CEO of U.S. and Asia-Pacific operations in 1999, when he also joined the company's main board. He became CEO of Vodafone in 2003, replacing Sir Christopher Gent.
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