The future of Vodafone chief financial officer Andy Halford was strengthened
this week, after the mobile giant’s former chief executive Sir Christopher Gent
resigned as life president.
Vodafone’s board has been plagued by a brutal power struggle between the
supporters of new CEO Arun Sarin and the so-called ‘Newbury Boys’, including
Gent and current chairman Lord
Ian MacLaurin, who ran Vodafone
in the 1990s.
Over the past year, Vodafone has seen the departure of former CFO Ken Hydon,
chief marketing officer Peter Bamford and deputy chief executive Sir Julian
Halford, who took over from the long-serving Hydon in July last year, is
believed to be in Sarin’s camp, and was dragged into the boardroom spat when
reports surfaced that Gent had opposed his appointment.
The departure of Gent has cemented Halford’s position on the board of the
£72bn telecommunications group.
‘In the 1990s, Vodafone was growing and making international acquisitions,
but things have changed and the company is operating in
a new world. The departure of
the old guard should see the criticisms of Sarin and Halford stop
and allow them to pursue their strategy in this new world,’ said Robert
Grindle, an analyst at
Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein.
Despite the internal wrangling, Vodafone’s share price has climbed 17% since
the beginning of the month on the back of widespread bid speculation.
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