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Vodafone’s new CEO scaled corporate ladder from Italian startup

The board of Vodafone Group Plc has chosen 29-year company veteran Margherita Della Valle to be its next chief executive officer, defying speculation that the challenged telecommunications giant would, for the first time, pick someone from beyond its own corporate orbit. She hasn’t always been a corporate insider.

Della Valle rose through the ranks after being one of the first thirty or so employees at the Italian telecoms startup Omnitel, where she helped decide the location of the company’s radio masts for its new mobile network, according to a colleague.

Omnitel was acquired by Vodafone and, in 2001, became Vodafone Italy. Yet, over the years, she’s become a Vodafone stalwart, holding the roles of Europe CFO, Group Financial Controller, Deputy CFO and CFO, implementing cost-saving measures worth billions of euros, and overseeing the carve-out, listing and sale of the company’s mobile mast business Vantage Towers.

“I know what needs to change, and we are getting on with it,” she asserted on a call in January after taking the reins from Nick Read, who was ousted in December without a replacement lined up. The word “interim” was dropped from her official title almost immediately.

Since January, Della Valle has cut hundreds of jobs in the company’s London headquarters. Bloomberg

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