Johannesburg – MTN has appointed appointed Phuthuma Nhleko as Executive Chairman in a temporary capacity as Sifiso Dabengwa resigns as CEO.

The boss of Africa’s biggest mobile company, MTN, resigned after receiving a $5.2bn (£3.4bn) fine from Nigeria.

Chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa tendered his resignation with immediate effect, saying it was

“in the interest of the company and its shareholders”.

The fine, which amounts to double MTN’s profit last year, was for failing to cut off unregistered mobile users.

The boss of Africa’s biggest mobile company, MTN, has resigned after receiving a $5.2bn (£3.4bn) fine from Nigeria.

Chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa tendered his resignation with immediate effect, saying it was “in the interest of the company and its shareholders”.

The fine, which amounts to double MTN’s profit last year, was for failing to cut off unregistered mobile users.

In a statement from MTN few hours after, the appointment of a new CEO was announced.

Below is the full statement
Johannesburg – MTN wishes to inform the market that MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sifiso Dabengwa has resigned.

“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.

Nhleko, the current Non-executive Chairman has agreed to act as Executive Chairman for a maximum period of 6 months while the Company identifies a successor for Mr Dabengwa.

Nhleko is no stranger to the business as he served as Non-executive Director and Chairman of MTN from July 2001 until June 2002 and thereafter as an executive director, Group President and CEO until March 2011. He has subsequently chaired the Group in a Non-executive capacity for the past two and a half years (29 May 2013).

“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,” commented Nhleko.

To ensure compliance with King III, Mr. Alan van Biljon will continue to serve as the Lead Independent Director on the MTN board of directors (“MTN Board”) whilst Mr. Nhleko takes over executive responsibility.
“Together with the MTN Board, my second priority will be to find an appropriate Chief Executive Officer to take MTN forward. I will then revert to my Non-executive Chairman role,” concluded Nhleko.

Stakeholders are reminded that MTN will continue to inform them of any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities via the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited (SENS).

Shareholders are advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made.

WHO IS PHUTHUMA NHLEKO

Phuthuma Nhleko is the ex-Group President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, a pan-African and Middle Eastern mobile telephony company. Founded in 1994, MTN’s wide reach currently spans 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Under Nhleko’s leadership, MTN’s mobile subscriber base grew to over 185 million users and earned over US$15 billion in annual revenue. The company’s market capitalization also increased from US$6 billion in 1994 to over US$35billion. MTN is currently the sixth largest company on the JSE by market capitalization in excess of USD 40 billion and the largest company (by market capitalization) with a primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).Nhleko was instrumental in leading the management leveraged buy-in to MTN in 2003. At US$700 million, the transaction was the largest management buy in of its kind in South Africa’s history. In addition, he also successfully concluded in 2006, the acquisition of Investcom Limited, a mobile telecommunications company listed in Dubai, for US$5.5 billion. Under his leadership, MTN and its subsidiary companies won numerous awards and distinctions including a spot in the top 10 companies in the prestigious American Business Week Survey that identifies companies that show vision, growth and are global companies of the future. Nhleko was the recipient of the prestigious South African Business Leader of Year Sunday Times award in 2009.He stepped down as CEO of MTN Group in March 2011 and is currently the Chairman of Pembani Group of companies, an investment holding company he co-founded in 1994, with interests in the petroleum, energy, cement and resources industries. Following his decision to step down as CEO of the MTN Group, Nhleko was appointed as a Non-executive Director on the boards of BP plc and Anglo plc, Afrisam (Chairman), Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (Chairman) and was appointed as Non-executive Chairman of MTN Group Limited.

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