By Adedeji Fakorede
The acting executive chairman of MTN Group, Phuthuma Nhleko had made top on his agenda is the resolution of issues concerning $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to deactivate 5.1-million unregistered SIM cards on its network.
Afterwards, Nhleko said that his second priority will be to find an appropriate Chief Executive Officer to take MTN forward and then reverts to the Non-executive Chairman role.
MTN Group had made known that Nhleko had agreed to act as executive chairman for a maximum period of six months while the company identified a successor for Mr Sifiso Dabengwa, the erstwhile CEO who threw-in the towel following the $5.2 billion fine and cumulating events.
“I will assume responsibility as Executive Chairman for the next 6 months as I proactively deal with the Nigerian regulator and will continue to work with them in addressing the issues around unregistered subscribers as a matter of urgency,” commented Nhleko
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN.”
As of 30 September 2015, MTN recorded 233 million subscribers across its 23 countries of operations.
“Due to the most unfortunate prevailing circumstances occurring at MTN Nigeria, I, in the interest of the Company and its shareholders, have tendered my resignation with immediate effect,” stated Sifiso Dabengwa in his resignation note.
Nhleko is no stranger to the business as he served as Non-executive Director and Chairman of MTN from July 2001 until June 2002 and thereafter as an executive director, Group President and CEO until March 2011.
He has subsequently chaired the Group in a Non-executive capacity for the past two and a half years (29 May 2013).
To ensure compliance with King III, Mr. Alan van Biljon will continue to serve as the Lead Independent Director on the MTN board of directors (“MTN Board”) whilst Mr. Nhleko takes over executive responsibility.
“Together with the MTN Board, my second priority will be to find an appropriate Chief Executive Officer to take MTN forward. I will then revert to my Non-executive Chairman role,” concluded Nhleko.
MTN Group promised stakeholders of continued information dissemination on any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities via the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited (SENS).