MTN CEO exit a loss, says Vodacom boss

Shameel Joosub, CEO and executive director of the Vodacom Group
Shameel Joosub, CEO and executive director of the Vodacom Group

Johannesburg - The resignation of MTN group chief executive officer Sifiso Dabengwa is a “loss to the industry”, says Vodacom boss Shameel Joosub.

Dabengwa joined MTN in 2004 as the company’s CEO in Nigeria. He then became group CEO in 2011.

But Dabengwa resigned on Monday amid the company facing a $5.2bn fine in Nigeria for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards in the country in a timely manner.

READ: MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa quits

Since the announcement of the fine, MTN’s share price has tumbled from a close of R190.84 on Friday October 23 to R159.42 at 13:44 on Monday November 9. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) is also investigating MTN over how it first announced its fine in a SENS market update.

And in an interview with Fin24 on Monday following Vodacom’s interim results for the period ended September 30 2015, Joosub commented on the news earlier in the day that Dabengwa has resigned from its rival with immediate effect.

"I think it's a loss to the industry,” Joosub told Fin24.

“I think Sifiso is a stalwart of the industry, and obviously he's had a lot of success over the years,” added Joosub.

‘No benefit for Vodacom’

Vodacom and MTN are close rivals in South Africa’s mobile market where the former has around 30 million subscribers and the latter 29 million.

Asked whether the problems MTN are experiencing in Nigeria were benefiting Vodacom in any way from a competitive viewpoint, Joosub said: "No, I don't think so. I think for me it's more important that we're consistently executing our strategy, and we don't really focus too much on what's going on outside there.”

"Obviously, you have to be cognisant of what your competitors are doing, but I think you have to really execute very well on your plan,” Joosub said.

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