An Italian company director, he was CEO of Vodafone from 2008 to 2018. He graduated at Bocconi University and earned a master’s degree in Business Administration at Harvard University. He began his career working in London at the Morgan Stanley investment bank. He then worked in the Milan offices of McKinsey & Company for ten years. In 1996 he became Director General of Omnitel Pronto Italia (now Vodafone Italia). In 1999 he was appointed as Managing Director of Vodafone Omnitel (Italian division). In 2001 he became regional CEO of Vodafone for Southern Europe. In 2002 he became a member of the company’s board of directors, and in 2003 he was appointed regional CEO for Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2004 he left Vodafone to become the CEO of the RCS MediaGroup, a role he retained until 2006. In October 2006 he returned to Vodafone as deputy CEO heading the European division. On 29 July 2008 he replaced Arun Sarin as CEO of Vodafone, as previously announced. In 2015 he was appointed as a non-executive director of Unilever. On 15 May 2018 Colao announced his resignation from Vodafone Group Plc. In April 2020 he was appointed by the Italian government to head the task force for the so-called "Phase 2", focusing on economic reconstruction of the country after the 2019-2020 COVID-19 pandemic.