MTN gets reprieve from NCC as it overhauls Nigerian operation

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  • Sacks CEO, Head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs
  • Fine reduces to $3.4 billion from $5.2 billion


The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reduced MTN’s fine to $3.4billion from $5.2billion in what appears to have resulted from diplomatic intervention by the South African government.


Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in South Africa participating in the Forum on China/Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) taking place in Johannesburg which ends tomorrow.

Also On the sidelines at the FOCAC, President Buhari would meet with the Chinese leader Xi Jinping, to ink a deal with China for the re-commencement of the stalled rail projects under new terms that would see China providing nearly all the financing required.


A ruffled MTN Group says it is still engaging with the authorities in Nigeria even as it announced an overhauling of its operations across Africa and the Middle East. With more than 65 million subscribers, MTN Nigeria is the South Africa’s operator largest operation.  The operator was fined over two months ago for series of infractions majorly its failure to deactivate unregistered SIM cards.


As part of its internal cleanup, the MTN Group has announced “new operating structure and senior management changes with a view to strengthening operational oversight, leadership, governance and regulatory compliance across its 22 country operations in Africa and the Middle East.”


Both its MTN Nigeria CEO Michael Ikpoki and the Head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs Akinwale Goodluck have been asked to resign with immediate effect. MTN Nigeria now has a new CEO. He is Ferdi Moolman. Amina Oyagbolatakwes over as Head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs. Moolman was previously COO at MTN Irancell and most recently CFO at MTN Nigeria. Oyagbola, a Nigerian would also retains the position of MTN Nigeria’s Head of Human Resources.


According to a statement by the MTN, the Group has also reverted to its previous reporting structure which is built round three regions – namely West and Central Africa (“WECA”), South and East Africa (“SEA”), and Middle East and North Africa (“MENA”).


Also effective 1 December 2015, “Jyoti Desai assumed the new position of Group Chief Operating Officer (“COO”). Based in Johannesburg, she reports to the Executive Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko. Ms Desai has 14 years’ experience at MTN. She has previously held the positions of Chief Information Officer at MTN Nigeria, was COO of MTN Irancell and was recently seconded to support the Nigerian country operations. Her replacement as Group Chief Technology and Information Officer will be announced soon.


Two regional Vice Presidents (“VP”) have been appointed, also reporting to the Executive Chairman. The VP for WECA is Karl Toriola, with Ismail Jaroudi the VP for MENA. The VP for SEA will be announced soon. Based in Nigeria, Toriola has been at MTN for 10 years, having held senior operational roles at MTN Group and MTN Iran. He was formerly also the Chief Technology Officer at MTN Nigeria and CEO at MTN Cameroon.


Jaroudi has been CEO of MTN Syria since 2006. Prior to this he held senior operational roles for Investcom’s subsidiaries across the Middle East and North Africa.


MTN Group Executive Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko said: “This revised structure and strengthened leadership will improve operational oversight and increase management capacity. This will enable MTN to continue to realise its strategy and vision, while also ensuring we achieve high governance standards and robust risk mitigation.”

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