MTN Group, a South African headquartered and pan-African telecommunications company, has announced the appointment of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa’s President, along with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, to their Board of Directors. Another notable addition to MTN's Board is that of South Africa's former Deputy Finance Minister, Mcebisi Jonas, as the company's chairperson.

In a statement issued by MTN, it explained that  Jonas will only takeover the role on 15 December 2019 when current chairperson, Phuthuma Nhleko, steps down.

"In recent years MTN Group has experienced challenging regulatory environments and highly competitive trading conditions. The MTN Group board of directors ("the Board") has also managed the transition of senior management during this period. The Board is of the view that MTN Group has entered a more stable and settled phase, enabling it to now affect an evolution of the Board."

The announcement of Sanusi comes several weeks after MTN's subsidiary in Nigeria announced that it has converted from being a Private Limited company to a Public Limited Company (Plc) in preparation of listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. This conversion was part of the terms agreed to when MTN Nigeria was handed a reduced fine of $1,05 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission for missing a deadline to cut off unregistered SIM cards from its network during 2015.

"MTN Group highly appreciates and thanks the Group directors who will be stepping down after many years of valued service to the Group. We are confident that the incoming directors of the Board will bring a depth of skills and regional insights that will continue to enrich the experience of the board. We are most privileged and honoured to have His Excellency former President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, agree to Chairthe IAB and are grateful to all the distinguished persons of the IAB who have agreed to give of their valuable time to contribute to the development of telecommunications and connectivity in Africa and theMiddle East," said Nhleko.

You can read the full statement issued by MTN below.

Evolution of the Board of MTN Group

Accordingly, in compliance with JSE Limited Listings Requirement 3.59,
MTN Group wishes to announce the following changes to the Board over
the next 12 months:

  1. The Chairman of MTN Group, Phuthuma Nhleko, who was anticipated
    to step down from his position at the Annual General Meeting to
    be held on 23 May 2019, will step down from the Board on 15
    December 2019 after overseeing an orderly transition of the Board
    including the establishment of the International Advisory Board.

  2. Mcebisi Jonas has been appointed Chairman-designate and will
    assume the position of Chairman of MTN Group effective on 15
    December 2019.

  3. Dr. Khotso Mokhele will assume the responsibilities of Lead
    Independent Director with effect from 15 December 2019.

  4. Further, Alan Harper, Jeff Van Rooyen and Koosum Kaylan will
    step down from the Board on 15 December 2019 after an orderly
    transition and handover to incoming directors.

  5. Peter Mageza and Dawn Marole will step down from the Board
    effective on 30 April 2020.

Further to the above, we are pleased to welcome onto the Board Lamido
Sanusi and Vincent Rague with effect from 1 July 2019.

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

We are confident that the incoming directors will bring a wealth of
experience, diversity of skills and geographical regional experience
to the Board.

Establishment of an International Advisory Board

The Board has resolved to establish an international advisory board
(IAB) of prominent persons of considerable and wide-ranging
experience. The primary 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, contributing to increased
digital inclusion in Africa and the Middle East, a pivotal aspect of
the fourth industrial revolution.

Whilst the IAB will be non-statutory in nature and not have any
fiduciary responsibility, it will make an important contribution and
play a highly valued role in ensuring that the Board is guided and
assisted in achieving the company's vision in a technically complex
world with uncertain and shifting geopolitical interests. The IAB will
commence on 1 July 2019.

The IAB will be chaired by His Excellency former President of the
Republic of South Africa, President Mbeki and be constituted of the
following persons:

  • His Excellency President, John Kufuor, former President of Ghana

  • Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, former African Union Commissioner for
    Political Affairs

  • Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, former Director General of the
    International Atomic Energy Agency

  • Dr. Momar Nguer, President of Marketing & Services Total S.A.
    (France)

  • Phuthuma Nhleko, Chairman of MTN Group


Cover image credit: (2007) South African President Thabo Mbeki delivers the keynote speech at the opening cermeony of World Newspaper Congress. Wikimedia Commons