Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group, anticipates emerging industry trends, ensure that his team always focuses on their customers, seek out opportunities to create value for their shareholders and provide direction and guidance to their people worldwide.
Vittorio was born in Brescia, received a business degree from Bocconi University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He started his career at investment bank Morgan Stanley in London, after that he joined the Milan office of McKinsey & Co in 1986, where as a Partner he worked on media, telecommunications and industrial goods sectors and was responsible for office recruitment.
In 1996 Vittorio joined Omnitel Pronto Italia, rising to Chief Operating Officer before its takeover to become Vodafone Italy, he became CEO of Vodafone group on 29 July 2008.
Being the CEO, Vittorio is leading Vodafone on the path of success. To list a very few and recent achievements of his leadership, Vodafone achieved 4G population coverage of 87% in European markets, up from just 32% in September 2013. 3G population coverage of 95% in targeted urban areas in India, and 4G launched in the last few months. 91% of all customer data sessions in Europe now at speeds of 3 Mbps or better. Dropped call rates down by 40% since September 2013.
Vodafone: Power to You
Vodafone Group is a British multinational telecommunications company, with headquarters in London. Among mobile operator groups globally, Vodafone ranks second by both revenue and the number of connections.
Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 49 more and has fixed broadband operations in 17 markets.
Vodafone promotes sustainable business and is committed to transparency. All the services provided are designed for better customer experience, which is why they are acknowledged globally. For instance, Vodafone’s M-Pesa is the world’s most successful money transfer service. It enables millions of people who have access to a mobile phone, but do not have or have only limited access to a bank account, to send and receive money, top-up airtime and make bill payments.
Responding to the Changing World
The industry changes constantly. No company can afford to stand still. Vodafone was established more than 30 years ago, became a leading service provider and stands still among the top contenders since. Among the many reasons and strategies to stay at the top, their ability to evolve with the time can be claimed as the most important one.
Considering the current market scenario, their strategy, Vittorio reveals, focuses on the global data revolution, attaining leadership in convergence, driving growth in enterprise markets and—through all of the above—delivering an excellent customer experience.
Technology for Good
Vittorio is known for promoting technology all over the world. He believes in technology and leverage it to improve our environment and foster others to do the same.
He endorses digital innovation among youth for a global change, and encourages to innovate on new technologies like, new generation networks – LTE & fibers, machine-to-machine technology, Internet-of-Things, 4g and 5g networks, etc.
Furthermore, Vodafone foundation has a division – Connecting for Good, which is about combining Vodafone’s charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world. Mobilizing Material Helath in Tanzania, HIV Identification & Treament in Lesotho, Instant Schools for Africa, Instant Network Schools, Instant Network Emergency Response, TecSOS and JustTextGiving are few projects under Connecting for Good which are tugging society towards a better future.
Customers are the First Priority
For Vittorio, telecoms is the most fascinating industry to work in. The challenge for all companies is differentiation; nobody can expect to be unique for long if they become complacent. Adding more insights to his strategy, he shares that providing comprehensive apprising for latest services or new products further built relationships with the customers. As the most important parameter by which business is acknowledged is by the customer-satisfaction, Vittorio asserts, “My company is at its best when we are more agile than our competitors and when our customers can see that we are truly committed to serving them better than anyone else.”
Having a firm belief in the philosophy, “The winners are those that understand their customers best and are relentless in their focus on meeting customer need.” Vittorio suggests, “Despite how successful you become, never lose sight of the details and always set aside time to talk to your customers directly and to your people in the front line.”
Advice from Vittorio
“That is for others to judge,” were the words by Vittorio when asked about the attribution to his success. But he believes that the most successful people in business are those who work hard, always has customers on the top of their priority list and focus on building excellent teams with a strong level of trust, respect and shared values.
Vittorio shares that there are too many to list the lessons he learned doing the business. “In this industry, you learn something new every day,” he adds to justify his answer. However, for the aspiring business people he shares one of the most important suggestions, that is, “Never fail to recognize what your customers want from you, and always remain informed and curious.”