Vodafone Group Plc is merging its northern and southern Europe units -- reversing a split of the continental business a year ago -- to make the mobile-phone company’s focus on cable and Internet services more efficient.
Philipp Humm, head of northern Europe, will lead the enlarged business, Newbury, England-based Vodafone said today. Paolo Bertoluzzo, who leads the southern division, will be in charge of an expanded commercial operations unit that is responsible for branding and marketing, customer service and enterprise customers. Both executives will report to Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao.
The reorganization, effective from October 1, is to help speed delivery of Internet, phone and TV service across Europe, Vodafone said. Europe’s largest wireless carrier agreed to buy German cable company Kabel Deutschland Holding AG for 7.7 billion euros ($10.2 billion) in June, and last year purchased Cable & Wireless Worldwide in the U.K. for $1.6 billion to expand outside of mobile-phone services.
Humm joined Vodafone in October last year from Deutsche Telekom AG, where he ran the European units and served as CEO of the wireless business in Germany and more recently, in the U.S.
Vodafone’s European business, which accounts for almost two-thirds of the carrier’s revenue, will now exclude Turkey, one of the fastest growing markets. Turkey, where revenue grew 19 percent to 1.95 billion pounds ($3 billion) in the year through March, excluding currency swings and acquisitions, will fall under the Africa, Middle East and Asia region.
Vodafone shares rose 1.2 percent to 199.85 pence at 2:59 p.m. in London, bringing their gains this year to 28 percent.
Vodafone is looking for ways to reverse service-revenue declines in Europe, where there are more mobile devices than people and sagging economies have hurt growth.
Bertoluzzo’s new position will replace former Chief Commercial Officer Morten Lundal, who resigned last month to run Malaysian wireless company Maxis Bhd, according to Simon Gordon, a Vodafone spokesman.