MTN’s top management is getting a facelift today, as Rob Shuter takes up his new role as group CEO and president, and Godfrey Motsa starts as SA CEO. This as the embattled telecoms operator tries to put a challenging 18 months behind it.
Shuter joins MTN after fulfilling his responsibilities as CEO of the European cluster at the Vodafone group and brings extensive experience in the telecoms sector in Africa and Europe, as well as in financial services.
He was previously CEO of Vodafone Netherlands, CFO of the Vodacom group and held senior management roles at Standard Bank and Nedbank.
Today signals a number of senior management changes at the pan-African telco.
As Shuter comes in, current executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko reverts back to his role of non-executive chairman.
He says he will stay in this role until no later than December 2018, when he plans to step down.
Nhleko took over as executive chair in an interim capacity in early November 2015 after former group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa resigned from the post.
His resignation came just two weeks after the company announced it faced a $5.2 billion (R71 billion at the time) fine from the Nigerian Communications Commission for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards in the country.
In June 2016, after months of negotiations, MTN agreed to pay $1.671 billion (R25 billion at the time) to the federal government of Nigeria, in six instalments over three years, to settle the fine.
However, the damage caused by the fine will likely linger for some time and has already had a heavy impact on the group’s financial results for the 2015 and 2016 financial years.
Earlier this month, Nhleko called 2016 the “most challenging year in the company’s 22-year history” as the group reported a full-year headline loss per share of 77c, for the year ended 31 December, compared to headline earnings per share of 746c a year ago.
This despite growing group subscribers by over 3% to 240.4 million across its 22 operations in Africa and the Middle East.