Guest speaker at the North West Hampshire Business Forum was the Chief Executive of Vodaphone, Sir Christopher Gent. The meeting took place at the Lamb Inn in Andover, by invitation of the landlady, Leonie Rickard.
"Sir Christopher explained how Vodaphone grew since it was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1985 to be one of the 20 largest companies in the world now. He traced its success to the decision by Margaret Thatcher to liberalise the telecommunications market, and allow competition with BT."
"Looking ahead, he foresaw a time when mobile telephones displaced fixed line telephones. He also pointed out the liberalising influence for people with mobile phones, who live in countries like China, of being able to get information from anywhere in the world."
"While the company's shares had been hit by the sharp fall in dot.com companies, Vodaphone had been careful not to over-borrow and to have a good cash flow."
"He explained he was standing down, after nearly 20 years with the company, to allow his successor to develop the new markets that were opening up."