Vodafone boss Gent to quit

Replacement chosen, but what will the markets make of it all?
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Replacement chosen, but what will the markets make of it all?

Vodafone boss Chris Gent has shocked investors with news that he is to quit as head of Europe's largest mobile phone company. The resignation has come as a bolt from the blue for markets caught unawares by the news, and Vodafone shares fell three per cent in early trading this morning. However, the company has tried to lessen the effect it will have on investor confidence by lining up his successor immediately to try to create a seamless handing over of the reins. Arun Sarin, the head of US Accel-KKR Telecom, will take over from Gent at the helm of Vodafone. Vodafone chairman Lord MacLaurin tod Reuters: "This appointment is part of a carefully orchestrated succession plan which I have put in place at Vodafone." Gent has enjoyed mixed fortunes at Vodafone over the past couple of years. He steered the company through a series of high-profile acquisitions, such as Airtouch (£40bn) and Mannesmann (£100bn), before coming aground in his attempts to add French firm Cegetel to the Vodafone stable. Gent also came in for a great deal of criticism over his exorbitant pay. For completing the Mannesmann deal he was controversially awarded a £10m bonus, as well as receiving massive annual pay-hikes, even once the company's share price began to sink. Last year Gent claimed a salary of £2.4m, despite Vodafone recording losses of £13.5bn and seeing its share price fall by one third.
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