Monday, November 9, 2015 9:47 am
The $5.2 billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria has claimed its first casualty within the MTN organisation.
The group chief executive officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, the group resigned on Monday morning “with immediate effect”, according to a statement issued by MTN today.
The fate of the Nigerian CEO, Michael Ikpoki, has not been announced.
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had imposed the hefty fine on Africa’s leading phone company for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards.
Dabengwa’s resignation was communicated to the shareholders on Monday. And he may have resigned first because shareholders in South Africa had raised an issue over the non-disclosure of the fine before it went public.
Phuthuma Nhleko, the former MTN group CEO and current non-executive chairman, will take on an executive role until Dabengwa is replaced.
Here is MTN’s statement issued this morning:
“MTN wishes to inform the market that MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sifiso Dabengwa has resigned.
“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,” stated Sifiso Dabengwa.
“Nhleko, the current Non-executive Chairman has agreed to act as Executive Chairman for a maximum period of 6 months while the Company identifies a successor for Mr Dabengwa.
“Nhleko 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. He has subsequently chaired the Group in a Non-executive capacity for the past two and a half years (29 May 2013).
“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,” commented Nhleko.
“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.
“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,” concluded Nhleko.
“Stakeholders are reminded that MTN 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”.