3/18/2009 12:34:00 PM
Vodafone chief Guy Laurence says cost-cutting could have come earlier
Vodafone’s new UK CEO, Guy Laurence, said the operator would have stripped out cost a lot quicker if it had anticipated the impact of the current state of the UK economy.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Laurence said: ‘With the benefit of hindsight, we were more focused on addressing growth at the front end rather than the cost base. We always have a focus on cost, but it would have been more acute if we knew what was coming.’
He said cost didn’t necessarily mean people, but he described the recent wave of redundancies in the UK business as ‘very painful and the least pleasurable thing a chief executive does’.
The decision to cut jobs was driven by the target set by group CEO Vittorio Colao to take £1bn out of the cost base across the group, with the UK and Europe under the most scrutiny.
Laurence added: ‘We went through the debate about whether to reduce activity or reduce the absolute numbers of people. Sad though it is, I would rather take out back office people than reduce the quality of service to the end consumer.’
He also said the network wasn’t reducing its advertising spend this year, but would spread it across a range of platforms, with a heavier accent on online advertising.