MTN seeks new revenue streams; appoints new CEO, VP on strategy and M&A

After an eight-month search and the successful resolution of the Nigerian dispute, South African mobile phone operator MTN Group has named Vodafone European cluster head Rob Shuter as its new chief executive. It has also appointed a Vice President for Mergers&Acquisitions and Strategy in its bid to focus on new revenue streams.

“Rob may commence as soon as it is practically possible in 2017 but not later than 1 July 2017 after the completion of his current contractual obligations,” the company said in a statement.

Shuter replaces Sifiso Dabengwa, who resigned last November following a $5.2 billion fine in Nigeria which exposed flaws in corporate governance at the telco.

As soon as Shuter resumes, Phuthuma Nhleko, who temporarily took over as an executive chairman after Dabengwa resigned, will return to his role as non-executive chairman.

“I am honoured to have the opportunity and look forward to working with Phuthuma and the MTN Group board to ensure that we build on a strong foundation laid over the last 15 – 20 years for the Group to realise its full potential,” Shuter said.

MTN has expressed confidence that Rob will bring experience and new insights to the CEO role having had many years in the telecoms sector both in Africa and Europe as well as in banking where his expertise will help as MTN continues to develop its new business strategy. Prior to joining the Vodafone Group, the South African had worked with Standard Bank and Nedbank.

Shuter was not the only steal from Vodacom, MTN also appointed Godfrey Motsa as Vice President for South and East Africa (excluding South Africa) with effect from 1 July 2016. Godfrey was Chief Officer for Consumer Business at Vodacom. He was previously CEO of Vodacom DRC Congo and CEO of Vodacom Lesotho.

“With a view to increasing the Company’s focus on new revenue streams MTN is pleased to announce the appointment of a new VP M&A and Strategy effective 1 October 2016,” the telco added. His name will be announced before June 30.

The company also added new non-executive directors.

MTN had in May lost its seven-year status as Africa’s highest valued telecommunications operator to rival Vodacom Group Ltd. following the Nigerian fine which saw shares decline by more than 30 percent since Oct. 26, when it was made public.  The telco’s market capitalization was R238 billion ($15.8 billion) at the market close in Johannesburg on May 12, trailing Vodacom’s R248 billion. MTN had since regained its place, with market capitalization on Monday at R262 billion, as against Vodacom’s R241 billion.