Michael Ikpoki
Michael Ikpoki

Embattled communications giant MTN has fired its CEO in Nigeria Michael Ikpoki and head of regulatory and corporate affairs, Akinwale Goodluck.

“This revised structure and strengthened leadership will improve operational oversight and increase management capacity,” said MTN group executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko in a statement.

MTN has been reviewing its senior management in Nigeria after the company was fined $5.2bn by the Nigerian Communications Commission for failing to disconnect customers with unregistered SIM cards, according to a person familiar with the matter.

According to the report senior executives at the company, who are in Nigeria to meet with the regulator to discuss the fine, made up their minds to make changes to senior management, which was headed by local Chief Executive Officer Michael Ikpoki, according to a source in the know.

There were news reports that that the head office in South Africa had plans to sack top management officers in Nigeria.

According to the source, behind closed doors, angry South Africa’s top management executives from the head office who arrived the country weeks ago confront Ikpoki and other local officers. While another source described it as an effort to assert authority and move beyond an embarrassing episode.

The South Africa office believed the management was careless and irresponsible for missing the deadline to disconnect 5.1 million subscribers.

The former chief operating officer and chief financial officer at MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, will become that business unit’s CEO. Nigerian national Amina Oyagbola has also been named head of regulatory and corporate affairs at MTN Nigeria.

The company announced in a statement on Thursday morning that Michael Ikpoki, its Nigerian CEO, has handed in his resignation with immediate effect. MTN Nigeria’s head of regulatory and corporate affairs, Akinwale Goodluck, has also resigned according to a statement from MTN, credible sources revealed they were forced to resign.

Meanwhile, in a market update to shareholders on Thursday, MTN said that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had agreed to cut the fine to $3.4bn and that this penalty needs to be paid by December 31 2015.

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