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MTN expects new CEO appointment in July

The appointment of a new CEO for MTN, Africa and Middle East’s biggest mobile phone operator, is likely to be concluded in two months’ time following the departure of Sifiso Dabengwa with immediate effect on 9 December 2015. By Gugu Lourie

The mobile phone giant envisaged the appointment would be made by the end of June, it said in its 2015 integrated annual report.

Dabengwa left the mobile phone operator after a $5.2 billion (over R74 billion) fine imposed by the Nigerian authorities for failure to register subscribers, resulting in the telco losing R75 billion ($5.4 billion) of its market value.

The company appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as an executive chairmain on an interim basis – from 9 November 2015 to 9 May 2016.

“I agreed to assume the role of executive chairman on an interim basis, from December 2015. My primary tasks were to resolve the Nigerian fine and appoint a new Group CEO. The latter process is well under way and we expect to identify and name a new Group CEO by the end of June 2016,” said Nhleko in the company’s integrated annual report.

“We have sought, systematically, to remedy those areas in which we were found to be lacking, to ensure that the Group emerges as more resilient than before”.

Despite the bad news around the disconnection of subscribers and a ridiculous fine in Nigeria, MTN has continued to invest in its Nigerian and other assets.

Earlier in January, MTN announced it has acquired Visafone, Nigeria’s wireless network provider, to use it to deploy broadband internet in Africa’s largest economy. The deal seems to issue a clear message that MTN is committed to the lucrative Nigerian market despite a possible fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission on the South African-based mobile phone operator for failure to register customers.

The Nigerian Communications Commission also approved the renewal,and extension of the tenure of MTN’s operating spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands. The operator paid $94,2 million  (R1.3 billion) as a spectrum fee for the 5-year extension period.

The telco also spent R3.5 billion to renew its licences in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.

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