MTN is dealing with another executive shake-up as its South Africa CEO quits

Another new leader.
Another new leader.
Image: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The CEO of MTN South Africa has resigned.

Mteto Nyati left Africa’s largest mobile company for Altron, a family-owned South African tech company. Altron announced on March 7 that Nyati will begin his new job on July 1, 2017.

Nyati was one of the names mentioned as a possible candidate who could have taken over as CEO of the whole MTN Group last year when critics lashed the telco for not hiring a black man to lead the company. Nyati leaves the company’s Johannesburg headquarters just days before new Group CEO Rob Shuter is set to start on Mar. 13.

Godfrey Motsa will take over on March 13 as CEO of the South African subsidiary. Motsa joined the company last year as vice president of the group’s southern (excluding South Africa) and East Africa operation. Like Shuter, he was poached from rival Vodacom. But Motsa’s start at the company was marred by a legal tussle over a non-compete clause from his former employer.

A record $5.2 billion regulator fine in 2015 in MTN’s biggest market Nigeria, set off an unravelling of the company’s senior executive management team. Since then, the group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa was forced to resign, with MTN chairman and former CEO Phuthuma Nhleko forced to return to hands-on operations to pilot the company during the crisis. Several other executives have also resigned and incoming CEO Shuter is effectively coming on board with a new management team.

The Nigeria fine, which was eventually negotiated down to $1.7 billion last year, was the primary reason for MTN posting the first annual loss in its history.