Thursday, 29 May 2008

Verwaayen v Sarin

I had been planning to write my own comparison of Ben Verwaayen's time at BT compared with Arun Sarin's time at Vodafone - as their reigns both come to a close in the next month. However, today's Evening Standard has a similar article - Telecoms giants who made the correct calls - so I won't repeat it. I rather liked their chart - I doubt I'm allowed to reproduce it but, if I do get into trouble, I fully acknowledge their ownership, copyright etc.

I'd always been brought up to believe that if you had to choose just one performance measure, it would be EPS. On that score, Verwaayen wins by boosting BT's EPS by 171% (from 8.8p to 23.9p) during his tenure compared to Sarin's 'mere' 83% increase (from 6.81p to 12.5p). On dividend growth, Verwaayen wins hands down - with BT's dividend up from 2p to 15.8p compared with Vodafone's up from 1.69p to 7.51p.

But Sarin wins on the share price stakes with BT largely back to where it was when Verwaayen arrived but Vodafone's share price up 36% since Arun arrived. However, even that rise is hardly 'stellar'.

But, let's be magnanimous, both Verwaayen and Sarin were great leaders of great 'British' tech companies. As the Evening Standard concluded "We were lucky to have them" .

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