More MTN Executives Jump Ship Amid Nigeria Crisis

According to sources familiar with the matter, another high-ranking executive is set to leave the MTN Group soon, as Africa’s giant wireless carrier battles over $10 billion of claims in its largest market of Nigeria.

People who requested not to be identified said that Herman Singh, MTN’s Chief Innovation Officer is expected to leave shortly, and will move on to begin his own tech venture. The exit comes as Chief Technology Officer Babak Fouladi goes to join Dutch telecommunications company KPN NV in a similar position soon.
MTN has confirmed Fouladi’s exit, which was announced by the Rotterdam-based KPN earlier this month.
Singh declined to comment.

The executives are moving on after a three-year period of absolute turmoil at MTN. A $5.2 billion fine in Nigeria in 2015 had MTN tangled in 10 months of negotiations and triggered a management overhaul. Then earlier this year, Nigerian authorities announced another round of multi-billion-dollar fines.

The stock has decreased by half over the period, valuing the telecoms provider at 169 billion rands ($12.2 billion) even as demand for data services in Africa rises and MTN expands in popular services such as mobile money.
MTN’s shares continue to decline.

CEO of MTN, Rob Shuter employed Fouladi two years ago from the Vodafone Group Plc in Spain as he built a new team following the first penalty in Nigeria, which was ultimately reduced to approximately $1 billion.
Singh, who was formerly with MTN’s longtime rival Vodacom Group Ltd., was hired in 2015.
Stephen Van Coller, another recruit by Shuter, left MTN at the end of August to join technology firm EOH Holdings Ltd. He had been at MTN for less than two years.

MTN’s latest spat with Nigerian authorities is over the company allegedly having illegally transferred $8.1 billion out of the country and also owing $2 billion in back taxes. While the matter regarding the illegal transaction looks close to being concluded, the taxation claim is still outstanding.

Other troubles for MTN include problems obtaining cash from Iran, its third-biggest market, after U.S. President Donald Trump issued sanctions against the country.

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