Sara Martins de Oliveira, the Vodafone marketer who oversaw a global rebrand and the move to bring biddable media buying in-house, is to step down.
Oliveira, global director of brand and media, is exiting just as Vodafone is in the final stages of an estimated £400m global media agency review.
Insiders said her departure is a personal decision because her family is relocating to another country.
There is no word on how Vodafone plans to replace Oliveira, who was named part of Campaign’s 2019 Power 100, an annual list of top marketers, earlier this month.
Some industry sources expressed surprise that Oliveira is leaving when Vodafone has yet to complete its media review, although it is thought that she will remain at the company for a short while longer.
Oliveira joined from Unilever in 2013, initially as brand and communications director for Vodafone in her native Portugal and then in a global role from 2015.
She went on to lead a global rebrand in October 2017 with a new strapline: "The future is exciting. Ready?"
Oliveira also oversaw the decision to in-source biddable media, including search and social, in summer 2018.
Paul Evans, another key player in the in-housing initiative, departed as Vodafone’s global head of media earlier this year after three years at the company.
Vodafone appointed a new global chief executive, Nick Read, in October 2018 and is under pressure to make efficiencies as the telecoms sector battles with structural change.
WPP and Dentsu Aegis Network are thought to be the front-runners in the global media review, which covers all non-biddable media.
Vodafone declined to comment.