MTN sacks Nigerian CEO

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…NCC cuts fine to $3.4b

By GBENGA OGUNDARE

Against the backdrop of the sanction crises rocking its operations, embattled communications giant MTN, has fired its CEO in Nigeria, Michael Ikpoki and head of regulatory and corporate affairs, Akinwale Goodluck.

The company announced in a statement on Thursday morning that Michael Ikpoki, its Nigerian CEO, has handed in his resignation with immediate effect. MTN Nigeria’s head of regulatory and corporate affairs, Akinwale Goodluck, has also resigned according to the statement.

Inside sources, however,  revealed both senior management officers  were forced to resign.

The sack Thursday morning confirmed speculations that  MTN might be reviewing its senior management structure in Nigeria after the company was fined $5.2bn by the Nigerian Communications Commission for failing to disconnect customers with unregistered SIM cards.

Senior executives of the South African company, who were in Nigeria to meet with the regulator to discuss the fine weeks back, made up their minds to effect changes in the management structure  led by local Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ikpoki, a source at MTN told this newspaper.

An earlier media report had speculated that the head office in South Africa  had plans to sack top management officers in Nigeria. According to inside source,  angry South Africa’s top management executives from the head office who arrived the country weeks ago confronted Ikpoki and other local officers for their inability to stave off the NCC sanction.

Although another source told this newspaper the sack was an effort to assert authority and move beyond an embarrassing episode, inside source says the South Africa office believed the management was lax and irresponsible for missing the deadline to disconnect over five million subscribers Who failed to comply with the NCC regulation.

The former chief operating officer and chief financial officer at MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, now heads MTN  as the new CEO, while Nigerian national, Amina Oyagbola has been appointed head of regulatory and corporate affairs.

“This revised structure and strengthened leadership will improve operational oversight and increase management capacity,” said MTN group executive chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, in a statement.

 

Meanwhile, in a market update to shareholders on Thursday, MTN said that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had agreed to cut the fine to $3.4bn and that this penalty needs to be paid by December 31 2015.

 

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