Fintech war: Vodacom loses Chief Strategist to MTN

The battle to lead financial technology market among telecommunications companies just got more intense after Vodacom‘s big shot, Yolanda Cuba, left the company to join MTN.

Cuba was previously Vodacom’s Chief Officer of Strategy and Merger & Acquisition before her move to MTN, where she is expected to act in the capacity of Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer.

Cuba’s appointment came at a time MTN is re-strategising its focus with plans to reduce revenue dependence on its voice business. MTN is gradually cutting down on its exposure to voice business, as mobile users preference has changed from traditional voice calls to social apps like Whatsapp, Facetime and Skype.

The Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Rob Shuter, had stated that the company is working on making digital and fintech to account for 15% of MTN’s revenues over the next few years.

Currently, the company makes about 59% of its revenue from voice. This number, according to MTN, is projected to continue dropping by about 2% a year.

The yellow company has already shown interest in Nigeria’s financial market, applying for mobile money service which it will begin in the second half of 2019. It has already started providing this service in Cameroon, Ghana and Uganda.

Within five years in Vodacom, Cuba became the CEO of Vodafone Ghana (Vodacom subsidiary). During her time as CEO, she led the acquisition of 4G spectrum and maintained the company’s second position in Ghana. Consequently, she was awarded Telecom CEO of the Year in 2018.

She later became the Chief Officer responsible for Strategy, M&A and Business Development for Vodacom. She was one of the top executives being tipped to takeover Vodacom’s top job someday.

Cuba served as the CEO of the defunct JSE-listed behemoth, Mvelaphanda Group, and Chief Strategist of SABMiller unit in South Africa.

Speaking on Cuba’s exit, Byron Kennedy, the spokesperson for Vodacom, in a statement, said, “Vodacom can confirm that Yolanda Cuba has decided to leave the group to pursue an external opportunity.

“During a two-year stint as CEO of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda led the acquisition of 4G spectrum and maintained Ghana’s position as number two mobile operator.

Meanwhile, MTN’s Shuter has this to say about her value, “We are very pleased to bring an executive of Yolanda’s calibre into MTN Group. Yolanda is a highly qualified and experienced executive, with a unique combination of operational telecommunications experience as well as finance, financial services and digital skills.