MTN hires Barclays Africa’s Van Coller for M&A as CFO quits

MTN Group Ltd. appointed former Barclays Africa Group Ltd.’s head of investment banking, Stephen Van Coller, as vice president of strategy and mergers and acquisitions, extending a management shake-up at Africa’s largest wireless operator in the wake of a record Nigerian fine.

The hire comes as MTN’s Chief Financial Officer Brett Goschen quits after 14 years with the company to pursue other interests, Johannesburg-based MTN said in a statement on Monday. Gunter Engling, the current chief executive officer of MTN Rwanda, will act as CFO until a replacement is appointed.

MTN is moving to shore up its management team following a months-long battle with Nigerian authorities over the company’s failure to disconnect unregistered users amid an insurgency in the country. Last month, it named Vodafone Group Plc’s Rob Shuter as chief executive officer to replace Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, who returned to the role to lead talks over the penalty. It also appointed a new head and CFO for the Nigerian operations, while adding other executives, including a manager from Vodafone’s South African Vodacom Group Ltd. unit, and named several members to its board.

“MTN is confident that the process of reviewing its capacity, resources, governance and management structures will be substantially completed by year end,” the company said. The changes “will leave the group well positioned to successfully face a highly competitive environment and take advantage of new opportunities.”

The mobile-phone company, which is the market leader in most of the 22 countries in which it has operations across the Middle East and Africa, is seeking new sources of revenue as customers seek more from their phones than just calls. Van Coller will help bolster MTN’s efforts to extend its offerings into financial services and media and entertainment, the company said.

Van Coller will begin in October after a decade at Barclays Africa, where as CEO of the lender’s corporate and investment banking unit, he oversaw assets worth more than 250 billion rand ($17.2 billion) across 13 countries on the continent, according to MTN. Prior to joining Barclays Africa, he was managing director of investment banking at Deutsche Bank AG’s Johannesburg-based unit. He will report to Nhleko, 56, who will revert to his previous role as non-executive chairman once Shuter arrives.

~Bloomberg