Hatem Dowidar, CEO of e& (pictured), took a seat as a non-executive director on the board of Vodafone Group, as the companies deepened a collaboration which has seen the UAE-based operator build a 14.6 per cent stake in the UK-headquartered business.

The pair’s latest agreement also provides e& the option to nominate a second non-executive director to the board if its shareholding exceeds 20 per cent.

Vodafone named the deal as the “next phase” in the pair’s existing partnership which followed e&’s initial investment in May 2022.

In a statement, Vodafone explained the pair’s latest deal will deepen commercial collaborations “across a broad range of growth areas”, noting cross-border digital services including private networks, cloud and IoT for international customers and the public sector.

The companies will work together to provide access to “high-quality digital infrastructure” and develop a “technology roadmap”, naming open RAN as key area of exploration.

Recently-appointed Vodafone CEO Margherita Della Valle said the expanded partnership allows the pair “to capture opportunities in our respective markets and brings additional telecoms experience to our board”.

On an earnings call, e& cited borrowing costs associated with the increase in its Vodafone stake as a factor in declines in profit and revenue during Q1.