Vodafone 2024 Annual Report

81 Vodafone Group Plc Annual Report 2024

Strategic report



Other information

Board activities and principal decisions Our Board is responsible for the overall leadership of the Group and, throughout the year, Board activities and discussion continued to focus on the Company’s strategic priorities. Digital and technology Technology Committee

The Board approved the creation of a Technology Committee as a Committee of the Board on 10 May 2023. Subsequently, the Technology Committee has kept the Board updated on the development and implementation of the technology strategy. Focus was given to the Tech2025 vision, which aims to enable digital transformation to better serve our Customers, drive Simplicity and enable Growth. Read more about the Technology Committee on page 95 Strategic partnerships and artificial intelligence The Board has considered the impact of artificial intelligence on different areas of the business. On 13 November 2023, we announced plans to create a strategic partnership with Accenture to commercialise shared operations to accelerate growth, enhance customer service and drive significant efficiencies for our operating companies and partner markets. The partnership will utilise Accenture’s world-class technology and transformation services such as digital solutions and platforms, and it’s deep artificial intelligence expertise. The strategic partnership is subject to completion of definitive agreements. On 16 January 2024, the Company announced a 10-year strategic partnership with Microsoft that aims to leverage our respective strengths to bring generative artificial intelligence, digital services and the cloud to more than 300 million businesses and consumers, transforming the customer experience. The five key areas of collaboration are generative artificial intelligence, scaling IoT, digital acceleration in Africa, enterprise growth and cloud transformation. Financial performance and capital Financial performance Throughout the year, the Board received regular updates on the financial performance of the Group from the CFO and management team. Trading performance and financial forecasts were reviewed against the backdrop of strategic transformation, rising energy prices and inflation pressures. The Board reviewed the Group’s performance versus the budget for last year. The budget for the coming year and long-range plan were approved. During the year, the Board considered and approved the half-year and full-year results announcements, and the Annual Report and Accounts, following the recommendation of the Audit and Risk Committee. Capital allocation review On 15 March 2024, we announced that the Company had conducted a broad capital allocation review, considering the investment profile of the Group’s strategy within its reshaped footprint. The review concluded that country-level capital intensity would be broadly maintained at existing levels, a robust balance sheet would be maintained with a new leverage policy, the ordinary dividend would be rebased to 4.5 eurocents per share from FY25 onwards, and there would be an opportunity for share buybacks following the completion of the sale of Vodafone Spain and Vodafone Italy. Dividend The decision to approve the dividend was supported by a robust assessment of the position, performance and viability of the business carried out by management. On 14 November 2023, we announced an interim dividend of 4.50 eurocents per share, which was paid on 2 February 2024. We have recommended a final dividend of 4.5 eurocents per share to be paid on 2 August 2024. This is consistent with dividends declared during FY23 and the expectations of our shareholders.

The Board oversees the Company’s strategic direction and supports the executive management with its delivery of the strategy within a transparent governance framework. Alongside deep-dives on the strategic priorities and overall shape of the Group, the Board has considered topics including the business plan, financial performance, digital and technology, and governance. Further detail on these topics is set out below. Key stakeholders are considered in the decision-making process in accordance with section 172 of the Companies Act 2006. Read more about Vodafone’s key stakeholders and how the Board has engaged with them during the year on pages 12-14 Our strategic priorities Customers Simplicity Growth Customers Our customers remained a key focus throughout FY24 as we began implementing the strategic transformation action plan communicated in last year’s Annual Report. Read more about our strategic transformation on pages 8-9 Information about the evolving needs of customers is regularly provided to the Board by the Executive Committee members and senior leaders. Customer action plan The Board received an update on customer satisfaction and experience in markets across the Group in an interactive strategy session held in September 2023. Discussion focused on the issues faced by customers in each market and the implementation of seven key actions as part of the renewed customer action plan. The Board visited the contact centre in Stoke-on-Trent in January 2024 to see the UK customer action plan in progress. The Board spent time with employees on the front line who have a deep understanding of customer needs and were informed of service improvements being made across all of our markets. The Board received an update on the CX transformation progress and joined the specialist care, business care, operations centre and digital centre divisions during their visit to delve more deeply into operational performance. Vodafone Germany The Board considered a proposed agreement with 1&1 Mobilfunk GmbH (‘1&1’) and, on 2 August 2023, we announced that a long-term national roaming partnership had been agreed. The agreement supports current and future mobile technologies and will deliver 5G mobile coverage to customers from the second half of calendar year 2024. The impact of inflation and evolution of technology were key considerations that have been reflected in the agreement. The market in Germany was a deep-dive topic discussed by the Board during the year. The review considered key long-term transformative initiatives across the three strategic priorities: Customers, Simplicity and Growth. Cost-of-living crisis The Board was updated on the Company’s cost-of-living initiative to ensure that consumers and small businesses continued to be supported.

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