There are some unconfirmed rumours swirling around long-serving Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub, who recently was sent on study leave at Harvard Business School.
The alleged imminent departure of Joosub follows the resignation of chief financial officer Till Streichert and chief technology officer, Andries Delport.
However, in an internal communique seen by TechCentral, Joosub assured his team early on Thursday morning that “contrary to what may be speculated, there is nothing sinister about this and no link to Andries’s announcement”.
But, Joosub might have been trying to calm the staff ahead of the announcement of his departure or promotion.
“Joosub has quit,” a reliable source told TechFinancials on Thursday morning.
“He is being promoted to a new position being created by Vodafone.”
Vodacom is majority-owned by British mobile giant Vodafone.
“Joosub will be taking over a new role of Vodafone Africa CEO,” alleges the source.
“He can’t be a CEO of both Vodacom Group and Vodafone Africa.”
Vodacom operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, Tanzania and other African countries through its Vodacom Business operations. While Vodafone has assets in Egypt and Ghana.
“All Vodafone and Vodacom CEOs in Africa will report directly to Jooisub,” said another source.
Vodacom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Still pursuing Vuyani Jarana
The abrupt ‘departure’ of Joosub will fan the flames of rumours of possible successors.
TechFinancials has also learned that Vodacom is still pursuing ex-CEO of the national carrier Vuyani Jarana to rejoin the operator to replace Joosub.
Jarana was seen at Vodacom two weeks ago.
“Joosub and Vodafone prefer Jarana as a perfect CEO to take Vodacom forward and compete for its share of the African telecoms market,” another source said, adding that “it looks like Jarana refused the offer”.
But Vodafone is still trying to convince him to come back.
In May, Jarana left SAA having served just over two years as the boss of the struggling airline.
He cited slow decision-making and red tape at the airline, as well as blurred lines of accountability, for his departure.
Jarana was previously chief operating officer at Vodacom before heading up its enterprise division.
He is credited with transforming and positioning Vodacom Business as a growth engine of Vodacom, growing its contribution to group service revenues from under 10% to 25% over three years.
He also turned around Stortech, a 51% subsidiary of Vodacom, from a declining business to a new growth company, by changing the shareholding structure and developing a new strategy that responded to the changes in the market.
Joosub was appointed as Vodacom Group CEO, succeeding Pieter Uys who stepped down at the end of March 2013.
Joosub joined Vodacom in March 1994 after completing his articles and has held various positions within Vodacom.
He served as Managing Director of Vodacom SA from 1 April 2005, to 31 March 2011, before taking up the position as CEO of Vodafone Spain on 1 April 2011.
Another source told TechFinancials that Delport’s departure was linked to the CEO position.
“Delport has been eyeing the position,” said the source. “He is leaving because Vodacom and Vodafone are bypassing him for the CEO role after diligently serving the company for many years in different roles.”
Delport held a number of senior positions in the company since joining Vodacom in June 1996 before being appointed CTO and a member of the Vodacom Group Executive Committee in November 2010. He will also relinquish his role as director of Vodacom Tanzania Limited and director of VMSA (Mozambique).
During his tenure, Vodacom said Delport played an important role in establishing network leadership across all five of Vodacom’s operating countries – DRC, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania – and building capabilities in technology and security for the group. He was also integral to teams responsible for a number of firsts, including the first commercial 5G network in Africa in Lesotho.