Single company man sets forth

Steve Dinneen
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PRIOR to his appointment as the new Vodafone chairman, Gerard Kleisterlee was the epitome of the single company man.

He has spent his entire career at Dutch electronics giant Philips, as his father did before him. He rose through the ranks to take the helm and is widely credited with transforming the company from a sprawling (and struggling) conglomerate to a streamlined operation.

His experience in stripping a company down to its bare essentials will be extremely useful in his new role, with Vodafone selling off its non-core assets.

German-born Kleisterlee, who took over as Philips chief executive in 2001, will bring emerging markets know-how, having served in the Dutch firm’s Asian division.

He will take over from Sir John Bond at Vodafone’s annual general meeting later this year.

Like all mobile operators, Vodafone is also struggling in its more mature markets, where competition and regulation have pushed prices lower.