7/1/2009 1:57:00 PM
Vodafone CEO Guy Laurence needs to find Dutch magic
The challenge of turning around the UK business is understood to be proving tougher than expected for CEO Guy Laurence.
Laurence was given the UK job after phenomenal success in the Netherlands. He is regarded as a maverick and a challenger, but has a track record of getting results.
He has instigated an aggressive strategy on roaming and prepay, but these appear interesting changes at the margins rather than strategies to turn the business around.
Costs and staff were cut in the UK last year during the final months of previous CEO Nick Read, and finance chief Mark Evans has looked to continue that this year. He said to staff in February this year: ‘Only efficient companies will survive this tough market place, and it is vital we look at every aspect of our operating model. We remain behind the competition so we’ve no room for complacency.’
The atmosphere is said to have been bleak at Vodafone for the last 18 months, which is one of the main priorities for Laurence to address.
Pressure has been placed on consumer chief Ian Shepherd and enterprise boss Peter Kelly to galvanise the business.
There are high hopes on Laurence to replicate the transformational strategy he put in place in Vodafone Netherlands, leading to huge leaps in Vodafone’s share of profitability, posing a major challenge to the incumbent, KPN.
He built new revenue streams with MVNOs and other businesses, and changed the culture and environment in the organisation to be more modern.
Vodafone Netherlands became the benchmark within the group for online retailing, best practices and even repositioning the brand.