Vodafone revamps global comms with new hires and City agency

The world's largest mobile telecoms company has restructured its comms function as the firm readies a £1bn M&A battle for Cable & Wireless Worldwide.

Vodafone: turns to Maitland and boosts in-house team
Vodafone: turns to Maitland and boosts in-house team

Vodafone, the biggest global mobile operator in terms of revenues, has boosted its group-level in-house comms function with four new senior hires and switched its financial PR adviser.

The firm brought in RLM Finsbury to handle financial comms in 2005, but has moved to City rival Maitland after a competitive pitch overseen by new group comms director Matt Peacock.

The switch comes at a potentially lucrative time for Maitland as Vodafone weighs up a £1bn fight with India's Tata Communications for beleaguered British telecoms firm Cable & Wireless Worldwide. Vodafone has until 29 March to announce its intentions, while Tata this week confirmed it is to make an offer.

Neil Bennett, Maitland CEO, said the agency was charged with providing 'strategic advice, creativity and looking for opportunities in the media and elsewhere to showcase the strength of the business'.

In recent times, Vodafone has found itself having to react to a number of high-profile issues (see timeline below), but now aims to be more proactive in its comms approach and draw together more consistent messaging across the business.

Peacock, who joined Vodafone from BG Group last summer, has created a new head of enterprise and industry analyst comms role for Nicola Rossi, who joins after serving as comms director of the UK National Pharmacy Association. She is also a former comms director at BT Global Services' healthcare division, BT Health.

Meanwhile, the global media team will be boosted by three more senior recruits, reporting to head of group media Ben Padovan. Former Telegraph media editor Amanda Andrews joins after spending just six months at Freud Communications, Matt Morgan comes in after six years in EMEA corporate PR at Cisco, and Sarah Ryan joins from City shop Powerscourt.

Peacock commented: ‘Vodafone is a great company with a great story to tell: these changes represent a fundamental reshaping of how we'll tell that story in future. I'm delighted to welcome Nicola, Amanda, Matt and Sarah to the team, and we look forward to working with Maitland in the future. I would also like to thank RLM Finsbury for its support and wise counsel over the years.’

The group has also made internal changes to its comms team, with Anna Cloke becoming head of comms strategy, planning and research, reporting to Peacock. She was previously the group head of brand comms and will now lead the development of a new global comms planning 'grid' to ensure consistent messaging across the group.

Finally, senior group corporate comms manager Vanessa Curran has taken on a new role with responsibility for development of Vodafone's ‘core narratives’ and supporting the Vodafone Foundation.

While Maitland takes over financial comms, the company will continue to use Tavistock for investor relations and logistical support surrounding announcements, and Sunesis for industry analyst relationship management support.

Vodafone timeline

March 2012 India's Supreme Court upheld its decision that Vodafone was not liable to pay £1.4bn in tax on its Indian mobile assets.

January 2011 During the uprising in Egypt, Vodafone agreed to shut down its mobile and web networks.

October 2010 UK Uncut protesters forced the temporary closure of a number of the firm's stores.

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