The latest board changes in Etisalat has sent some Nigerians wondering if this is step towards a takeover by Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote.
Etisalat Nigeria announced board changes that saw its former Chairman, CEO and CFO resign. Dr Joseph Nnanna was appointed Chairman in place of Hakeem Bello Osagie. Mr. Matthew Willsher and Mr. Olawole Obasunloye former CEO and CFO respectively were replaced by Mr. Boye Olusanya and Mrs. Funke Ighodaro respectively.
However, the profile of one of the directors has flagged off suspicions of a Dangotesque takeover.
Why the suspicion?
One of the directors, Mrs. Funke Ighodaro was before now the Chief Financial Officer of Tiger Brands Ltd. Tiger Brands is a South African company that had majority shares in Dangote Flourmills Plc. Even for stark is the work history of one of Mr. Boye Olusanya, the new CEO of Etisalat Nigeria.
Mr Olunsanya was before now the “Chief Business Transformation Officer” Dangote Industries Limited, responsible for management of all enterprise-wide projects in the Group. He was also MD at Dancom Technologies Limited with responsibility for managing all the telecom assets and the IT Infrastructure.
How come a CEO of a company owned by Dangote is on now the CEO of Etisalat? What is the connection? Is this a coincidence?
We have a theory
In 2010, Etisalat bought a 3G license which it is currently using to trade in Nigeria from a company called Alheri Mobile Services Ltd. Alheri Mobile Services is(was) a subsidiary of Dangote Industry Limited. This was Etisalat’s comment when they acquired the license in 2010.
“We are delighted to acquire the 3G license, which is an essential element of our plans for further developing the market for mobile broadband in Nigeria….There is pent-up demand in Nigeria for broadband, and we intend to be the leader in satisfying it,”. Etisalat
This probably explains why Dangote has a seat on the board of Etisalat. The NCC had earlier informed the banks that the license is not transferable without its approval providing a back end entry into Etisalat once again.
Is this another Tiger Branded move?