The Chief Executive Officers of MTN Group Limited’s Zambia and Cote d’Ivoire units are stepping down after citing “personal reasons”. This comes barely weeks after the latest wave of xenophobic attacks against African migrants rocked some parts of South Africa.
What we know: A press statement issued, yesterday, by the telecoms company disclosed that Philip van Dalsen and Freddy Tchala (the current CEOs of MTN Zambia and MTN Cote d’Ivoire, respectively), will be leaving by the end of September. Dalsen, who has been with MTN Group for seven years after joining as the CEO of MTN Cyprus, will now be replaced by the current CEO of MTN Rwanda, Bart Hofker starting from October.
Meanwhile, MTN Group has yet to announce a successor for Freddy Tchala who has had a 17-year experience with the telecoms company. Prior to becoming the CEO of MTN Cote d’Ivoire, he previously served as the CEO of MTN Guinea and MTN Congo Brazzaville. The telco said it “will make an announcement in due course regarding a successor for Tchala.”
Is there a connection? CNBC Africa reached out to MTN Group’s spokeswoman, Karen Byamusigha, who was quoted as saying that the resignations were informed by “personal reasons”.
Even though there is no known connection between the two incidents, the resignations are coming roughly two weeks after some irate South Africans attacked some foreign nationals and foreign-owned businesses, asking them to “go back to their countries”. In response, there were reprisal attacks in countries like Zambia and Nigeria where top South African corporations have their subsidiaries.
Throughout much of last week, companies like MTN asked their workers in Nigeria to stay home, as the authorities worked hard to qual further reprisal attacks. The CEO of MTN Nigeria Plc also spoke out repeatedly in condemnation of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
MTN Group Limited is a South African telecoms giant with operations across Africa. The Group has had its fair share of controversies and regulatory sanctions; especially in Nigeria. Yet, it always finds a way to dust off the issues whilst remaining ahead of its competitors.