Sir John Bond to step down from Voda chair

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Sir John Bond to step down as Vodafone chairman as shareholder unrest returns

Vodafone is reported to be sounding out a replacement for its current chairman Sir John Bond, who is expected to step down after renewed shareholder unrest over Vodafone’s recent strategy and acquisitions.

Bond, who has been Vodafone chairman since 2006, has already held off a campaign by minority shareholder the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) at Vodafone’s July annual meeting to have him removed from his position.

OTTP blamed Bond for “significant structural and strategic weaknesses… and a history of poor capital allocation and disastrous mergers and acquisitions”. This includes slashing the book value of Vodafone’s Indian business by £2.3 billion in May, just three years after gaining control of the business.

OTPP managed to get support from 6.5 per cent of investors during the annual meeting.

Vodafone owns a 45 per cent stake in US mobile operator Verizon Wireless, and 3.2 per cent of China Mobile. The China Mobile shares are believed to be up for sale in a move that could raise £4 billion, according to further reports.

It was reported over the weekend that Vodafone has hired City recruitment expert Anna Mann to find Bond’s replacement. It is suggested Bond had only intended to stay in his position for six years and that the recruitment process is part of the company’s ongoing succession planning.

Vodafone declined to comment.

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