Vodafone Australia appoints new CEO: Iñaki Berroeta

David Ramli at the AFR:

Vodafone Hutchison Australia has brought in Vodafone Romania’s chief executive, Iñaki Berroeta, to be its new chief executive officer.

It is understood the Spanish-born executive Mr Berroeta will take over from current CEO Bill Morrow, who quit his post in December to head up the company building the national broadband network, NBN Co.

Interesting choice. Iñaki Berroeta will be an unknown quantity in the Australian telecommunications scene. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of him, but according to Vodafone’s press release, he lead Vodafone to become the first mobile carrier in Romania to offer LTE.

Population-wise, Romania is in the same ballpark as Australia (21.3 million vs. 23.2 million), but a clear difference in markets will be our huge land mass; Romania has only around 238,391 square km total area, while Australia has closer to 7,687,000 square km.

A few other basic comparisons: Romania’s GDP per capita is much lower than Australia ($9000 vs. $67,500). It’s difficult to get up-to-date figures (both countries are pretty small-fry in the grand scheme of Vodafone worldwide) but the FY11/12 summary for each country seems to indicate that Romania’s customer base is a larger percentage of their overall population than here in Australia.

Another interesting wrinkle; Mr Berroeta will also be moving from a wholly-owned Vodafone property in Romania to an Australian Vodafone-Hutchinson joint-venture arrangement.

All that aside, Bill Morrow will remain with Vodafone until the end of March, then he’ll be off to head up NBN Co. I guess that guy loves a challenge.

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