MTN has hit back at those who have criticised it for appointing a white group CEO in the form of outgoing Vodafone executive Rob Shuter.
In a lengthy statement on Friday evening, MTN defended its record of empowering black South Africans and of creating black leaders.
The move comes after both MTN’s largest shareholder, the Public Investment Corp, which looks after government employees’ pensions, and the Black Management Forum, criticised it for overlooking black candidates in favour of Shuter.
The BMF warned that Shuter’s appointment ran counter to the transformation agenda.
But MTN has sought to deflect the criticism.
In its statement, it said that 85% of its South African unit is comprised of historically disadvantaged individuals and that the local subsidiary makes up 22% of the global staff complement.
“Transformation and empowerment remain at the core of MTN’s ethos and culture,” it said. “Over the past 22 years, MTN has been one of the standard bearers of black economic empowerment and overall transformation among the top 10 JSE-listed companies.”
Among other things, it had created MTN Zakhele, in terms of which 124 000 historically disadvantaged shareholders were eligible to invest.
“On average, MTN Zakhele has been highly successful, with shareholders benefitting from a compound annual return of 29% since the scheme’s launch in 2010,” it said.
In addition, MTN South Africa’s CEO (Mteto Nyati), board and executive committee are comprised of predominantly historically disadvantaged people, it said.
“All positions in the group are filled on the basis of the company’s needs and objectives without compromising the medium-term transformation imperative in South Africa or any of our operational markets,” it added.
It said that although transformation will “always be important, innovation and strategic flexibility are equally critical given the global nature of the firm and the disruptive technological changes that are sweeping through the telecoms sector”.
“To this end, the market has understood the changes made to the organisational structure as well as the appointment of key roles to address identified strategic gaps within the business. This includes the appointment of an internationally seasoned group CEO and president, who was chosen following an extensive global and local search. Ongoing empowerment and transformation will remain one of the key deliverables of the new group CEO.” — © 2016 NewsCentral Media