This are indeed troubled times for the MTN Group as its President and Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, resigned on Monday morning over the N1.04tn fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the country’s regulatory body – the Nigerian Communications Commission.
A credible source at the MTN Group office said the company subsequently appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as Executive Chairman in a temporary capacity.
He said Nhleko, the current Non-executive Chairman, has agreed to act as Executive Chairman for a maximum period of six months while the company identifies a successor for Dabengwa.
A copy of Dabengwa’s resignation letter was made available.
It read in parts, “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.”
Officials at MTN said Nhleko was 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 (since May 29, 2013).
“I will assume responsibility as Executive Chairman for the next six 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,” Nhleko said in his acceptance letter.
It was also gathered that Mr. Alan van Biljon would continue to serve as the Lead Independent Director on the MTN board of directors (MTN Board), while 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,” Nhleko added.
”Stakeholders are reminded that MTN will continue to inform them of any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities via the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited.
“Shareholders are advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities until a further announcement is made,” the source added.