MTN Group CEO resigns over ‘unfortunate’ N1.04trillion MTN Nigeria fines
Mr Sifiso Dabengwa, the Group Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, has tendered his resignation following the “most unfortunate” N1.04 trillion fine imposed by the Federal Government on its Nigerian mobile phone subsidiary, MTN Nigeria.
In a world exclusive news story published October 25, 2015, Technology Times reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) imposed punitive sanctions totaling one trillion and forty billion naira (N1.04 trillion) against MTN Nigeria over alleged breach of SIM registration rules by the mobile phone company.
With the hefty fine, the telecoms watchdog ruled that MTN Nigeria, the nation’s biggest mobile phone operator by subscriber numbers, owned by South Africa’s MTN Group, be handed the biggest sanction ever witnessed in the Nigerian telecoms market.
“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,” were Mr Dabengwa’s parting words, according to a statement released this morning by the South African mobile phone giant, MTN Group.
[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Mr Sifiso Dabengwa, the Group Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group”]“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.” [/blockquote]
The South African mobile phone group has appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as Executive Chairman in a temporary capacity following Dabengwa’s resignation as CEO.
MTN Group informed the market that Nhleko, the current Non-executive Chairman has agreed to act as Executive Chairman for a maximum period of six months while the mobile phone company identifies a successor for Mr Dabengwa.
The departing Group CEO of MTN has also headed the Nigerian operation of the mobile phone group, where it is the market leader by subscriber numbers.
Technology Times also learnt that high-level talks are underway to resolve the issue even as the NCC has given a November 16 deadline for MTN Nigeria to pay up the N1.04 trillion.
Meanwhile, MTN Group also reassured the market that its affairs are in capable hands under Nhleko who is “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.”
Nhleko has subsequently chaired the Group in a Non-executive capacity for the past two and a half years (29 May 2013), according to MTN.
“I will assume responsibility as Executive Chairman for the next 6 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 adds.
To ensure compliance with King III, Mr. Alan van Biljon will continue to serve as the Lead Independent Director on the MTN board of directors (“MTN Board”) whilst Mr. Nhleko takes over executive responsibility, the company says.
“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 says.
MTN also assured stakeholders that the mobile phone company will continue to inform them of any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities via the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited (SENS).
“Shareholders are advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made”, the company says.