Former Absa deputy CEO Louis von Zeuner — known to his colleagues in the banking industry as “King Louis” — has been named as one of five new business leaders who have joined the board of the partially state-owned telecommunications operator Telkom.
Von Zeuner, who is highly respected in the financial services sector, is joined by former MTN director Santie Botha, who, before she joined the cellular operator, was also an executive director at Absa where she launched the bank’s Internet service provider business.
Clive Fynn, Khanyisile Kweyama and Fagmeedah Peterson have also been named as directors.
The operator now has 14 directors on its board, which a spokesman says will allow it speedily to fill vacancies on board committees and to focus on the recruitment of a CEO to replace Nombulelo Moholi, who will step down early next year.
“It is heartening for me that people of this stature and calibre are able to give of their experience to the company, to return it to the glory days of delivering superior service to its customers,” says chairman Jabu Mabuza, himself a recent board appointee.
The appointments follow Telkom’s explosive annual general meeting in October at which communications minister Dina Pule voted against the election or re-election of a number of Telkom’s directors, including its lead independent nonexecutive director Sibusiso Luthulu, who had been expected to chair the board following the resignation at the meeting of Lazarus Zim.
Pule’s intervention at the AGM — government owns a direct 39,8% in Telkom — threw the board into crisis as it didn’t even have a quorum to accept Moholi’s resignation.
Mabuza says a recent meeting between the board and Pule “demonstrated that there is a fresh, shared understanding emerging of the policy requirements of government and the business imperatives for Telkom”.
“It is encouraging that in just a few weeks we have made significant strides in addressing the issues of leadership and government’s relationship with Telkom,” he adds.
“This path to full restoration of all governance structures will be followed with the appointment of a new group CEO. This will place Telkom firmly on track to deliver the dual challenges of maintaining and growing shareholder value and contributing towards national economic and social development.”
New directors’ profiles
Susan (Santie) Botha: Botha has a bachelor of economics (honours) from the University of Stellenbosch and is chancellor of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Previously, she was an executive director of MTN and Absa. Ms Botha is chairman of Curro Holdings. Other board memberships include Tiger Brands, Imperial and Famous Brands.
Clive Fynn: Fynn has a PhD in entrepreneurship from the University of Pretoria and a master’s degree in business management from the University of Sheffield in the UK. He is MD and senior vice-president of Global Alliances, an IT forensic practitioner and an honorary professor and PhD and masters’ external examiner to international and ICT schools. He was previously MD and chairman of Cisco Systems Capital South Africa and an executive director of Siemens Business Services.
Khanyisile Kweyama: Kweyama obtained a master’s degree in management from Wits University. She is head of Anglo American Southern Africa and previously the executive head for human resources at Anglo American Platinum and group executive for global human resources at Barloworld. She is vice-president of the Chamber of Mines and a director of Anglo Platinum Management Services, Rustenburg Platinum Mines, Sovereign Foods and the Walter Sisulu University.
Fagmeedah Petersen: Petersen has a bachelor of business science (actuarial science) from the University of Cape Town and is a fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa. She is an investment expert trustee of the Government Employee Pension Fund and acting chief investment officer of the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund.
Louis von Zeuner: Von Zeuner obtained a bachelor of economics from the University of Stellenbosch and holds several international qualifications. Until recently, he was deputy group CEO of Absa. He remains on the bank’s board. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media