Maria Grazia Pecorari, known as MG for short, became Vodafone’s UK Director of Wholesale & Strategy in August 2022. Vodafone UK News wanted to find out more about her and her vision for her department.
MG says she has been fascinated with strategy, business and technology most of her professional career.
“Telecoms is a very dynamic and interesting sector,” she says. “I’m really interested in how technology changes people’s lives.”
She sees her current role as “working with the GMT [General Management Team of the company] and Vodafone to realise the full potential of the business, offer great products and services to customers, and the best possible network to power the UK as a whole.”
While strategy is about looking to the future, it is also about “helping an organisation be the best it can be, now,” she says.
“It’s about winning, ultimately. And to win you need to work well together and display those Spirit behaviours that Vodafone exemplifies.
“Business is a team sport.”
MG’s interest in strategy and the power of technology to change lives started early.
Born in a small town, Rubiera, in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, not too far from Modena, famous for its balsamic vinegar, she went on to study Economics at Milan University, before moving into business consultancy.
As often happens, a job opportunity in the UK after university, intended to last no more than two years, turned into a much longer stint. As a consultant she found herself advising clients in the telecoms sector early on, travelling around the world – India, South Africa, Europe – before, she says: “Living out of a suitcase became too much.”
When she joined Bain consultancy’s Technology, Media & Telecoms division, one of her clients was Vodafone – at the time it was taking over Cable & Wireless back in 2011/12.
Later, she moved into the corporate world and became a Managing Director at BT Global Services. There, she designed the turnaround of the business in 2017 then went on to manage their product and services portfolio, and to drive through a major digital transformation.
“I became a better strategist when I became involved in execution,” she reflects. “As a strategist you have to be a contrarian and think about the future, but you also have to be pragmatic – you need to come up with ideas that actually work in practice. The only strategies that exist are the ones that get executed, well.
“I call this mindset being a pragmatic agitator.”
Talking to MG it becomes clear that she believes in the vital importance of telecoms and technology in creating the digital society.
“The network is the nervous system of the digital world. Without it there would be no cloud, no software, no digital,” she says.
“Telcos are critical enablers. How many other businesses can you think of where if they stopped then our ways of living and working would stop? What we do is indispensable, it’s critical to people’s lives.”
“And that’s not going to change any time soon.”