MTN appoints Africa’s top finance experts as part of its boardroom shake up

Africa’s telecommunication giant MTN which recently changed its status to a public company ahead of its listing on the Nigerian Stock exchange has appointed former South Africa Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas as chairman and Nigeria’s ex-central bank Governor Lamido Sanusi as a non-executive director.

Following the $5.2 billion fine on MTN by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for disconnecting the Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) with improper registration, top management officials– including the chief executive officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, the Head of Nigeria Operation, Micheal Ikpoki and the Head of Cooperate Affairs, Akinwale Goodluck–resigned.

South Africa Deputy Finance Minister, Jonas will replace Phuthuma Nhleko, who plans to step down in December after almost two decades as chairman. Prior to Jonas appointment, he was already a non-executive director of MTN. Jonas also served in former South African President, Jacob Zuma’s cabinet in 2017 as the deputy finance minister for almost three years. Incumbent President Cyril Ramaphosa also appointed Jonas an investment envoy for Cyril Ramaphosa.

According to Ron Klipin, an analyst at Cratos Wealth, “Jonas is the right man to replace a figure such as Nhleko after so many years. He has the expertise and will be the man to negotiate and strategize.”

For Nigeria’s ex-central bank Governor cum Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi’s appointment, the telecoms company needs a person with a wealth of experience for its Nigerian business, which is the largest of MTN’s 20-market portfolio. The business is the largest of MTN’s 20-market portfolio, MTN Nigeria accounts for almost a quarter of all subscribers.

MTN also announced a separate board of prominent people to advise on broader African issues. The group will be headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and includes John Kufuor, ex-leader of Ghana.