MTN names Enzo Scarcella new COO for South Africa unit

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s biggest wireless operator by sales, appointed Enzo Scarcella as chief operating officer of its South Africa unit, reuniting him with incoming Chief Executive Officer Rob Shuter, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Scarcella, 46, is moving to MTN from his position as chief marketing officer of Telkom SA SOC Ltd., said the people, who asked not to be identified as the move hasn’t been announced. He will be a familiar face for Shuter, 49, who is scheduled to arrive at Johannesburg-based MTN next year, as the two worked together until 2014 at South African mobile-phone operator and MTN competitor Vodacom Group Ltd.

Scarcella declined to comment when contacted by phone.

“Enzo Scarcella has resigned to pursue a new career opportunity,” Telkom spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan said by e-mail. His departure has been announced to employees of Pretoria-based Telkom by CEO Sipho Maseko, she said.

Scarcella is one of several high-level managers brought in by MTN ahead of Shuter’s arrival. The company has shaken up its executive ranks in the wake of a 330 billion ($1 billion) fine in Nigeria related to a regulatory order to disconnect subscribers, which contributed to the company’s first-ever half-year loss. Shuter is key to the rebuilding effort but is obligated to remain in his current job as head of Vodafone Group Plc’s European cluster while negotiating his departure.

Former Colleagues

Scarcella joined Telkom, South Africa’s biggest landline company, from Vodacom, where he was a strategy and marketing executive at the same time as Shuter was chief financial officer.

Other recent appointments include Barclays Africa Group Ltd.’s former investment banking chief, Stephen Van Coller, to run its strategy and mergers and acquisitions. Godfrey Motsa has been hired from Vodacom to run southern and east African markets excluding South Africa.

“MTN will not comment on market speculation,” MTN South Africa Chief Human Resources Officer Nhlanhla Qwabe said by e-mail.

MTN shares are down 37 percent in Johannesburg since the Nigeria fine was first reported in October, valuing the company at 220 billion rand ($15.2 billion). The stock was down 1.4 percent at 119.52 rand as of 2:41 p.m. in the city.