Vodafone Group appoint Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer to succeed Gerard Kleisterlee as Chairman

Vodafone Group

Vodafone Group Plc (LON:VOD) today announced that Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer will be appointed as a Non-Executive Director following the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 28 July 2020, subject to shareholder approval. It is the intention that he will succeed Gerard Kleisterlee as Chairman of the Board on 3 November 2020. Gerard Kleisterlee, who has been Vodafone’s Chairman for nine years, will step down and retire from the Board on that date.

Mr Van Boxmeer is currently Chief Executive of Heineken N.V., the world’s second largest brewer. He has been Heineken’s Chief Executive since 2005 and will hand over the role to his successor in June 2020.

Since taking over as Chief Executive of Heineken in 2005, Mr Van Boxmeer transformed the company into a truly global organisation through a balance of strategic transactions and organic growth. The success of his strategy has resulted in a nearly threefold increase in Heineken’s share price and he is credited with creating significant shareholder value. He joined Heineken’s Executive Board in 2001 and had worldwide responsibility for supply chain and technical services, as well as regional responsibility for the operating businesses in North-West Europe, Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. He joined Heineken in 1984 and held a number of senior roles in Africa and Europe, including General Manager of Heineken Italy.

Mr Van Boxmeer is a member of the Shareholders Committee of Henkel, the €20 billion household products and adhesive technology business, and a Non-Executive Lead Director of Mondelez International, the US-based multinational snacking company. He will join Heineken Holding as a Non-Executive Director in June 2020. He has been an active member of the European Round Table for 14 years and was appointed its Vice-Chairman in November 2018. In this role, he has led discussions with the European Commission across a range of issues.

Commenting on the appointment, Gerard Kleisterlee said:

“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a succession planning process which the Board initiated last year. Jean-Francois is a very experienced businessman, with an in-depth knowledge of our geographic regions and he brings very strong sales and customer focus.  I believe he is an excellent successor as Chairman. I am proud of what we have achieved during my nine years with Vodafone and of the team’s efforts to move us from a mobile-only operator to a leading position in converged communications and our clear focus on two scaled, differentiated platforms in Europe and Africa.”

Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer commented:

“It is an honour to be invited to join the Board of Vodafone and ultimately to become its new Chairman and to build on Gerard’s many achievements.  Vodafone has a unique role to play in enabling the digital society and the vital importance of technology and communications in our daily lives has been sharply brought into focus through recent events. I am greatly looking forward to working with Nick and the executive team to drive forward Vodafone’s strategy, ensuring that we create significant value for all stakeholders.”

In addition, the Vodafone Board has agreed that David Thodey will become a member of the Audit & Risk Committee with effect from the end of the Annual General Meeting on 28 July 2020 and at that point Sir Crispin Davis will step down from that Committee. Sir Crispin will continue to be a Non-Executive Director of Vodafone.

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At the date of this announcement, Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer holds no ordinary shares in the Company. Pursuant to Listing Rule 9.6.13R, it is confirmed there are no other disclosures required in addition to the above information.

Nick Read, Chief Executive of Vodafone Group, said:

“I am delighted that Jean-Francois will be joining Vodafone and becoming Gerard’s successor. He has presided over a highly successful period of transformation and value creation at Heineken, has extensive international experience in driving growth through both B2B and B2C business models, and is highly-regarded as one of the longest standing and most successful CEOs in Europe. I look forward to Jean-Francois playing a key role in the next stage of Vodafone’s strategic development.”

Nick Read added:

“On behalf of the Board, and everyone at Vodafone, I would like to thank Gerard personally for his substantial contribution to the Company since he became our Chairman nine years ago. We have all benefited considerably from his leadership, experience and wise counsel during a period of significant strategic transformation, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside him until November.”

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