MTN South Africa CEO Mteto Nyati has resigned from the telecommunications group to take the reins at Altron.
Nyati, formerly MD of Microsoft’s South African subsidiary, will take over as Altron CEO from Robbie Venter by “no later than” 1 July.
The surprise move by Nyati — who joined MTN just two-and-a-half years ago and who has been credited with kick-starting the turnaround of the mobile operator’s local business — comes as Altron transitions away from a family-controlled and family-run business, 51 years after its founding.
[Now read: Godfrey Motsa is new MTN SA CEO]
The restructuring of Altron will see the collapse of the Venters’ control structure into a single listed entity on the JSE.
Robbie Venter will step down as CEO “in due course”, Altron said. Venter, the son of Altron founder Bill Venter, has been with the group for the past 27 years.
“Mr Venter will remain on the Altron board as a nonexecutive director to continue to provide his wealth of knowledge and experience to the company,” Altron said in a statement to shareholders after markets closed on Tuesday.
Nyati joined MTN in October 2014 as group chief enterprise officer, soon thereafter moving into the South African CEO role.
In a statement, Altron chairman Mike Leeming said Nyati’s appointment followed a “rigorous recruitment process”.
“The Altron board embarked on a global search for a suitable candidate with the necessary global leadership experience and business orientation with a solid track record in the ICT sector,” Leeming said.
“Mteto has in-depth blue-chip technology experience having been at IBM for 12 years, and six years at Microsoft prior to joining MTN in October 2014. He has extensive experience in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets. We are extremely pleased to have him on board and are confident that he, the board and Robbie will work well together during the handover phase.”
Venter said he and the Venter family “remain fully committed to the Altron group”.
“The Venter family will continue to be involved in the group, both as shareholders and through their representation on the board as nonexecutive directors,” said Venter.
Speaking to TechCentral on Tuesday evening, Nyati said accepting the Altron job “was not an easy decision”. He said he has worked hard with the MTN team to turn the operation around, and the fruits of that effort are starting to show.
Ultimately, though, the opportunity at Altron was too big to turn up, he said. “Altron is an iconic company — a true African company that is going through some difficult times. There is the opportunity to help it grow outside South Africa and make it relevant in the digital era.”
He implored the team at MTN to continue to focus relentlessly on customers as part of everything they do, as they have done for the past 18 months under his leadership. “We are already starting to see the rewards of those efforts,” he said, adding that he will work with the mobile operator to ensure a smooth handover to a new CEO.
Venter, also speaking to TechCentral on Tuesday evening, said Nyati is already familiar with Altron — especially subsidiaries Altech and Bytes — having had “extensive dealings” with the group both as MD of Microsoft South Africa and as CEO of MTN South Africa. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media