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Nigeria Fine Saga: MTN Appoints Vodafone Chief As CEO

MTN Group named Vodafone Group ’s Rob Shuter as its new chief executive officer, turning to a seasoned executive to lead Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company following the settlement of a record fine in Nigeria.

Shuter, a South African who leads Vodafone’s European cluster as CEO, will start no later than July 1, 2017, MTN said in a statement Monday.

He will replace Phuthuma Nhleko, who returned to lead Johannesburg-based MTN last year and oversee the 330 billion naira ($1.28 billion) settlement in Nigeria.

Nhleko, 56, will revert to his previous role as non-executive chairman once Shuter arrives.

MTN is moving to shore up its management team following a months-long battle with Nigerian authorities over the company’s failure, amid an insurgency in the country, to reach a deadline to disconnect unregistered users.

The company is adding other executives, including a manager from Vodafone’s South African Vodacom Group unit, and adding several members to its board.

“In terms of execution and experience Rob is definitely the right man for the job,” Peter Takaendesa, a senior analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said by phone.”There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit that can quickly be fixed at MTN.”

MTN’s stock price had weakened by a third amid the negotiation and uncertainty about their outcome. More recently, it has gained on the settlement in Nigeria, along with a devaluation of the Nigerian naira, which will have the effect of lowering the fine’s cost. MTN declined 2 per cent to 141.77 rand at 2:25pm in Johannesburg. The stock is up 6.6 per cent year- to-date.

Shuter, 48, has held senior management roles at Vodacom, Standard Bank Group and Nedbank Group prior to joining Vodafone.

He will start as soon as practically possible in 2017, after completing his contractual obligations, MTN said.

MTN said it’s confident Shuter will bring “experience and new insights to the CEO role having had many years in the telecoms sector, both in Africa and Europe, as well as in banking where his expertise will help as MTN continues to develop its new business strategy.”

 

Via Bloomberg

 

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