Vodafone CEO frontrunner critical of telecoms sector
Vodafone’s former non-executive director and ex-EE chief has publicly criticised the bureaucracy of European telecoms.
Olaf Swantee, a Dutch businessman and key figure in the continent’s telecom sector has stated that the sector’s biggest companies are too complex and centralised. He stated that the sector needs to listen to customers.
Swantee is rumoured to be a frontrunner for the top job at Vodafone. The telecom giant has lost nearly 65 per cent of share value since its peak in 2015. The sector has taken a particular hit with the European cost of living crisis and soaring inflation. In September 2022, a record 8m households in the UK struggled to pay broadband and mobile bills.
Without naming any particular companies, Swantee urged publicly listed telecom companies to take lessons from privately owned players that are disrupting the market. Telecom trouble across the sector has had significant impacts with share values. BT saw its worst day of valuation over two years in September 2022. Vodafone’s slump has continued into the new year.
Swantee warned telecoms of an economic death spiralling, advising that “The private equity model, where you can invest a lot to improve a teleco, gives it freedom to act, to move. It will typically strengthen that business.”