MTN appoints Vodafone Europe head Rob Shuter as group CEO

South Africa-based MTN appointed a top executive from the Vodafone group as its new group president and CEO, replacing Sifiso Dabengwa who resigned last November.

The company said Rob Shuter will take up his new role no later than Jul. 1, 2017. Shuter has been CEO of Vodafone Netherlands since 2012. In October 2015, his role was also expanded to include the other European countries within the Vodafone group excluding the four large European markets (UK, Italy, Spain and Germany). Previous roles include the position of financial director at the Vodacom group.

MTN's appointment of Shuter ends an almost eight-month search for a new CEO following Dabengwa's resignation, which came after a record $5.2 billion (€4.6 billion) fine in Nigeria exposed corporate governance flaws. The operator said on Jun. 10 that it had finally settled the dispute after agreeing to pay a total cash amount of NGN330 billion over three years -- said at the time to be the equivalent of $1.67 billion at the official exchange rate.

Phuthuma Nhleko, who has served as interim CEO since Dabengwa's resignation, will revert to his role as non-executive chairman once Shuter assumes his new position.

MTN will be hoping that Shuter's appointment marks the start of a new era for the group. Bloomberg noted that the battle with the Nigerian authorities weakened the company's share price by a third.

Nhleko said MTN "has weathered a rather difficult storm and will continue to review its governance and management operating structure to ensure that it operates at an optimum level and continues to replenish management talent to ensure a sustained growth of the business."

The company also made a number of other new appointments and expanded the roles of some of its existing directors.

For example, Vodacom's chief officer for consumer business, Godfrey Motsa, has been appointed VP of South and East Africa (excluding South Africa) at MTN with effect from Jul. 1. The company also plans to reveal the name of a new VP of M&A and strategy later in the year.

For more:
- see the MTN CEO statement
- see the MTN statement on the Nigeria settlement
- see this Bloomberg article

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