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Sir John Bond will take over as the chairman of Vodafone in July, two months after relinquishing the same position at HSBC.
Vodafone confirmed on Monday that Sir John, 64, will take over at next year’s annual meeting, replacing Lord MacLaurin at the top of the world’s largest mobile operator by revenues.
The appointment, which the FT reported on Saturday, will be widely welcomed in the City, where he is highly respected and regarded as a heavy hitter.
The diplomacy and political skills he has honed at HSBC during a 45-year career will stand him in good stead with Vodafone as it looks to expand its operations around the globe in search of growth.
Vodafone has incurred the wrath of investors in recent weeks by sticking to its troubled Japanese operation. Its shares are still in the doldrums. Lord MacLaurin on Monday described the sharp drop in the share price as an “overreaction”.
“The board has endorsed the strategy but we will be reviewing that strategy on an ongoing basis,” he told the FT.
Shareholders on Monday night reacted positively to the prospect of Sir John taking over.
“John Bond has had a very good record as chairman at HSBC. He has the international dimension and the Asian aspect could be helpful,” said one investor.
Lord MacLaurin said on Monday that after nine years on the board it was time to go under the guidelines in the combined code of corporate governance. He insisted that succession planning was at the forefront of his mind.
Lord MacLaurin said: “John Bond is a very good businessman and will do extremely well at Vodafone. It gives us a lot of time to go around investors before I go off to pastures new.”
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