Vodafone Hutchison Australia appoints new chief executive

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is set to replace departing chief executive Bill Morrow with Inaki Berroeta, who currently heads up the Vodafone Group’s business in Romania.

In a statement, the operator said that Berroeta would take over from Morrow on 1 March, with Morrow to stay on until the end of March to ensure a smooth transition takes place.

After that, Morrow will leave the Vodafone Group to take charge of NBN Co, the government-backed operator that is deploying a high-speed network across Australia.

Vodafone credits Berroeta with delivering growth and improved profitability in Romania’s challenging market conditions, and also with pioneering the introduction of 4G services in Romania.

Last year, Vodafone Romania reported revenues of €769 million ($1.1 billion) and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization of €276 million.

Morrow cited Berroeta’s international experience as an important factor in his appointment, saying he would help VHA continue with its transformation.

“Inaki is a great fit for the local team and his diverse background places him well to take Vodafone through to the next phase of its three-year turnaround,” he said. “His appointment demonstrates Vodafone Group’s and Hutchison Whampoa’s commitment to developing talent globally and to putting the right people in the right places.”

A joint venture between Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa, VHA has been struggling against local rival Telstra and reported an 8.1% drop in service revenue for the period between April and September 2013, compared with the same part of 2012.

The operator has been trying to overcome negative perceptions triggered by a series of service outages more than three years ago, and recently admitted that its brand image is still relatively weak.

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