Arun Sarin, the Vodafone chief executive, is stepping down from his post as the head of the UK telecommunications giant, and will be replaced by his deputy Vittorio Colao. Sarin, who has been in the top job for five years, will retire in July, having spearheaded the company's expansion in emerging markets such as India, Turkey and Romania.
He said: "I feel that I have accomplished what I set out to achieve, particularly in developing and implementing a new strategy." Sarin came under fire in 2006, when about 15% of shareholders either abstained or voted against him continuing as chief executive.
But despite the shareholder revolt and heavy criticism, Sarin survived and went on to turn his reputation around. Vodafone chairman Sir John Bond said Sarin had led the company "with distinction".
The news was announced as Vodafone reported annual pre-tax profits increased 2% to £8.9bn.Vodafone said businesses in emerging markets were performing well, especially in India where revenue had jumped by 50%. However, the conditions in Europe were "challenging", while pressure from competitors and regulators had pushed prices down by 15.8%
Sarin said: "Our strategy is continuing to deliver strong results and is reinforcing our leadership position in the communications industry. We have
increased our customer franchise to 260m, up 26%. We are driving our strategy across our diverse portfolio in order to continue to generate consistent, strong cash flow and superior returns for our shareholders."