Sifiso Dabengwa, MTN Group president and CEO, has resigned. He has since been replaced by Phuthuma Nhleko on an acting capacity while the telecom giant search for permanent CEO.
“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 in a Press Release issued in Johannesburg.
MTN Nigeria got in trouble in October after the country’s telecom regulator, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), fined the company a record $5.2 billion penalty for failing to disconnect customers with unregistered SIM cards. Military intelligence has suggested that outlawed groups and individuals like Boko Haram members rely on unregistered SIM cards to communicate and detonate explosives. This has made it difficult for security agencies to track the militant.
Back on the throne
The new acting CEO Mr. Nhleko (see editorial photo) once served as the Group CEO from 2002 to 2011 and led the transformation of the company and its expansion into Africa and the Middle East. “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,” said Nhleko.
Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, with 28.5 million subscribers, followed by Iran and South Africa. It recorded an annual revenue of $3.6 billion from the Nigerian market in 2014.