Vodafone appoints Philips CEO as chairman

Philips’ chief executive Gerard Kleisterlee is to succeed Sir John Bond as Vodafone’s chairman.

Sir John Bond will retire from the board in July and Kleisterlee, who has spent his entire career at Philips, will be appointed as a non-executive director of Vodafone on 1 April.

In July, Vodafone investor the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan opposed Bond’s re-election to the board and staged a protest vote calling for the company to address “strategic weaknesses”. Despite the rebel shareholder opposition, Bond survived and was re-elected with 93% of the vote.

Prior to joining Vodafone, Bond spent 45 years at HSBC and during his tenure on the board he helped grow the group into the second largest company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Chief executive of Vodafone Vittorio Colao says the company has benefited from Bond’s “leadership, experience and wise counsel”.

He adds: ’I personally am very grateful to him for his constant support and personal advice since becoming CEO, during a phase of extraordinary economic and industry changes.”

Bond says: “I am delighted to announce that Gerard Kleisterlee, a highly successful international businessman whose track record at Philips speaks for itself, will be succeeding me as chairman after my six years on the board of Vodafone.”

Philips saw profits soar 79% in the last quarter of 2010 but Kleisterlee warned earlier this month that poor television sales were a “major issue” for the company.

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