Vodafone’s new UK CEO, Guy Laurence, is expected to make a series of changes as he takes the helm in one of the toughest of the operator’s markets.
Laurence (pictured) was unveiled as a replacement to outgoing UK chief Nick Read this week, with the company’s brand being identified as a major priority.
With some critics describing the Vodafone brand as ‘too stuffy’ and ‘too corporate’, Laurence will be expected to use his experience of building brands to improve Vodafone’s appeal in the consumer market.
The new UK CEO has been described as extremely personable and media-savvy by sources who have worked closely with him in his former role as CEO for Vodafone Netherlands.
Vodafone Netherlands had missed its targets for several years prior to Laurence joining the Dutch business in January 2006. In his first year, he achieved 183% of his target, followed by 192% last year.
Laurence’s background is in media, having worked at Chrysalis records, Carlton TV, as well as film companies Universal, Paramount and MGM Studios.
One source said: ‘He’s clever, but he can be complicated and doesn’t automatically trust people. He’s the most media-savvy of all the CEOs within Vodafone.’
Laurence made online retail and online customer service a top priority to stand out in the Dutch market. The company had a strapline of ‘fresh, easy and good deals’ under Laurence, which the company attempted to live up to with all of its moves in the market.
The source added: ‘He built a very clear and achievable vision when he got to Netherlands, and everyone was completely aligned.’
A spokeswoman for Vodafone Netherlands said: ‘He’s a very charismatic leader. He knows and remembers people. He does a lot of homework on everything and everyone.’