Vodafone's Finegold Steps Down After Decades of Dealmaking

  • Ex-UBS banker joined U.K. carrier in 2006 to lead expansion
  • Helped Vodafone navigate $130 billion Verizon Wireless sale

Warren Finegold, the banker who helped transform Vodafone Group Plc into one of the biggest phone operators in the world over 28 years, said he’s retiring from the carrier’s executive board.

As head of UBS Group AG’s technology banking, Finegold brokered Vodafone’s more than $170 billion takeover of Mannesmann AG in 2000. He joined the U.K. carrier in 2006, leading the company’s acquisitions of German cable provider Kabel Deutschland Holding AG for $11 billion, Spanish cable company Grupo Corporativo ONO SA and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.’s Indian unit -- deals that helped Vodafone expand into fixed-line telecommunications from its mobile roots.

Finegold also helped navigate the $130 billion sale of Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. mobile-phone company.

"He’s been an amazing strength and partner to Vodafone over all those years," said Andre Sokol, managing partner at Akira Partners, a London-based M&A boutique focused on technology and telecommunications and a former colleague who’s known Finegold for almost 20 years. "It’s a loss for Vodafone, but it’s probably fair to say he’s done his fair stint."

Vodafone advanced 2.1 percent to 222.40 pence at 2:23 p.m. in London. The shares have gained less than 1 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 59 billion pounds ($85 billion.)

"Warren has been an outstanding colleague and adviser, who has made an immense contribution to Vodafone over nearly thirty years," Vodafone Chief Executive Officer Vittorio Colao said in statement Wednesday.

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