MTN directors step down from board amid controversies

MTN Group announced significant changes to the Group Board and the establishment of an International Advisory Board (IAB) amid controversies.
MTN South AfricaJohannesburg-based MTN Group, a leading telecom operator in Africa, is facing a number of financial and regulatory related controversies in several countries.

Recent developments

# MTN has been put on review by Moody’s for downgrade
# MTN ordered to return $8.1 billion
# Uganda deports MTN Uganda CEO
# MTN aims to list its Nigerian unit
# MTN denies bribery charges for getting Iran license

MTN appointed Mcebisi Jonas as chairman of MTN Group effective 15 Dec 2019 in a major change to its strategies.

Phuthuma Nhleko, chairman of MTN Group, will step down from the board on 15 Dec 2019.

Khotso Mokhele will assume the responsibilities of lead independent director with effect from 15 December 2019.

At present, there are 13 independent non-executive directors and two executive directors in addition to non-executive chairman in the MTN board of directors.

The appointment of Mcebisi Jonas, the former South Africa Deputy Finance Minister, as chairman and Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria’s ex-central bank Governor, as non-executive director is part of boardroom shake up at Africa’s biggest wireless carrier, Bloomberg reported.

Phuthuma Nhleko was planning to step down in December after almost two decades as chairman or chief executive officer of the Johannesburg-based company.

The appointment of Sanusi, 57, comes as MTN prepares to list its local Nigerian unit on the Lagos stock exchange, a condition of the settlement of a $1 billion regulatory three years ago.

The business is the largest of MTN’s 20-market portfolio, accounting for almost a quarter of all subscribers.

Who is leaving

Alan Harper, Jeff Van Rooyen and Koosum Kaylan will step down from the board on 15 Dec 2019 after transition to incoming directors. Peter Mageza and Dawn Marole will step down from the board effective 30 April 2020.

Lamido Sanusi and Vincent Rague will join the MTN board with effect from 1 July 2019.

Lamido Sanusi is a Nigerian national, the Emir of Kano and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Vincent Rague is a Kenyan national who worked for the International Finance Corporation for 24 years.

International Advisory Board

The purpose of the IAB will be to counsel, guide and support the MTN Group from time to time in fulfilling its vision and objective of being one of the premier African corporations with a global footprint in telecommunications.

Thabo Mbeki, former president of the Republic of South Africa, will chair IAB. John Kufuor, former president of Ghana; Aisha Abdullahi, former African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Mohammed el Baradei; former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Momar Nguer, president of Marketing & Services Total (France); Phuthuma Nhleko, chairman of MTN Group will be part of the International Advisory Board.