Vodafone UK consumer business director Ian Shepherd has left after two years in the role and almost four years at Vodafone.
UK strategy director Mark Bond takes the role until a replacement is found.
Shepherd was appointed Vodafone consumer sales director in 2008 after roles as strategy director and commercial director. He had charge of Vodafone’s entire consumer business, and flanked UK chief executive Guy Laurence.
Shepherd was involved in Vodafone’s restructured and exclusive distribution deal with Phones 4U in 2007, which saw it at the same time axe Carphone Warehouse for new connections on the high street. Laurence’s predecessor Nick Read led these moves, but Shepherd was influential in the processes also.
The two-year Carphone withdrawal, and Vodafone’s failure to capture the Apple iPhone on its UK debut, are considered to have cost Vodafone significant market share, as rival O2 stole and extended its lead in the UK.
Shepherd has organised the overhaul of Vodafone’s retail estate in the past 12 months, but sources claim the expansiveness of Vodafone’s retail project has been limited in comparison with rivals’ operations, with nothing in the way of store concessions or of experiments in new-concept retailing of any kind.
Meanwhile, its recent launch of Vodafone 360, which Shepherd oversaw, has received mixed reviews. Its Summer Roaming campaign was considered to be a success, but featured only as a promotion last summer.
And Vodafone’s exclusive on the first BlackBerry Storm was a story of software issues that failed to recapture the market lost to the iPhone on O2.
Now Vodafone has the iPhone in its portfolio, the wisdom and success of its multi-million pound advertising campaign around the strength of its network remains to be seen, reckon industry observers.