Power 50 Profile: Guy Laurence, CEO, Vodafone UK
After Laurence’s first year at the helm, green shoots have started appearing in the company's UK business. Laurence is said to have had a new spring in his step since last autumn as the groundwork he laid during his first 12 months in the role finally started to pay off. He consolidated his authority with the appointment of new execs and had to make several ruthless decisions when clearing out the old guard. A unified communications plan was kicking in and financial performance was turning a corner. He has been hit hard by Government cuts, which have exposed his enterprise division’s reliance on big Government contracts. On the other side of the market, Laurence has been pushing hard on prepay with rising stars Srini Gopolan and Nick Birwistle in what appears to be a long-term play to capture the youth market. However, Vodafone is still an operator with business customers at its heart, and this is where the politics and strategies of Vodafone Group are believed to hamper Laurence's autonomy somewhat.
CEO Guy Laurence has got one of the toughest jobs in the industry at the moment, transforming the UK’s oldest mobile network into a modern, vibrant propostion. Laurence is continuing to wield the knife at Vodafone, determined to make the operator a meaner, leaner contender in the face of the Orange/T-Mobile merger. Over the last year Laurence has begun to change the company culture, overseen major network quality enhancements and is turning it into a challenger brand.Last year under Laurence’s leadership Vodafone slashed costs, resurrected a much-needed distribution agreement with Carphone Warehouse and clinched the long overdue iPhone deal with Apple. He has also launched a fresh attack on the consumer market, culling management and bringing in fresh blood. He has unveiled a strong push into the SME market, and while its 360 proposition hasn’t been entirely successful, it is a bold and ambitious move. Whether it is enough to turn Vodafone’s fortunes around remains to be seen, but things are certainly stirring.