Barely two months after listing on the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), the MTN Group has announced changes to the board of its Nigerian subsidiary, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc.
Announced via the NSE, the six directors that have worked with the company since their appointment in 2001 and seen it list will now give way to 14 new appointees comprising 13 directors.
These appointees are scheduled to take over from 2 September 2019.
Ernest Ndukwe, a former Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) executive director, is the appointed Board Chairman Designate taking over from Pascal Dozie. Four of the six newly-integrated directors have a background in financial services, including Michael Onochie Ajukwu (independent non-executive Director), Muhammad K. Ahmad (independent non-executive director), Andrew Alli (non-executive director) and Ifueko Okauru (non-executive director).
AB Mahmoud (non-executive director) has a legal background and chaired the Committee that drafted the Securities and Exchange Commission Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies 2011, while non-executive director Omobola Johnson has an engineering background.
Johnson served as Nigeria's Minister of Communication and Technology from 2011 to 2015.
Maintaining its lead
According to the NCC, MTN Nigeria is leading the local market and has 64.8 million active subscribers or 37% share.
The new board would be saddled mainly with the responsibility to maintain the telco's market position and push for a greater market share over other licensed service providers using different technologies including GSM, CDMA, fixed wireless and fixed wired.
The NCC states that as at May 2019, 99% of subscribers in Nigeria still use GSM technology as a telecom service
Since April 2018 only MTN has witnessed a slight drop in its subscriber base, while Airtel and Globacom have grown theirs by about 15% over the same period.
MTN Nigeria's new board will have to work to improve the company's relationship with industry authorities, which has been tested in recent years because of regulatory issues.
In late 2018, MTN had to agree to pay Nigeria US$53-million to settle a dispute over a multi-billion dollar dividend repatriation. The agreement was reached after the telco paid over US$1-billion for defying an NCC ruling on unregistered SIM cards and agreed to list on the NSE.
Making progress on these issues will help MTN Nigeria as local competition within telecommunications industry intensifies.
The country's teledensity has recently dropped below 100% since March 2019 (a feat it first achieved in January 2015) after having reached 124% this February.