Telkom to name new CEO today (updated) - TechCentral

Telkom to name new CEO today (updated)

Nombulelo "Pinky" Moholi

Telkom should know the name of its new CEO today, with the telecommunications group expected to make the formal announcement sometime in the morning.

It’s widely anticipated that Telkom will appoint SA MD Nombulelo “Pinky” Moholi to the post. She reportedly enjoys the backing of the board and senior politicians.

Update: Telkom confirmed Moholi’s appointment, as expected, by way of a JSE Sens statement this morning. See full statement in the comments section below this article.

Adding fuel to the speculation of a Thursday announcement, Telkom has scheduled media interviews with the group’s new chairman, Lazarus Zim. Communications minister Roy Padayachie recently appointed Zim to chair the group under special rights it enjoyed, but which expired on 5 March.

Moholi, who also enjoys the support of telecoms analysts, is said to be well respected among ordinary Telkom staff. She joined the group in 1994 but left in 2005, shortly after the board — with the backing of former communications minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri — named Papi Molotsane as its CEO.

Molotsane, whose tenure was brief, realigned reporting structures at Telkom, in the process effectively demoting Moholi, prompting her to leave to take up a senior position at Nedbank. She was lured back to the group three years later by former CEO Reuben September, who left last year after clashing with former chairman Jeff Molobela.

Telkom has had to move fairly quickly to fill the leadership position at Telkom. Acting CEO Jeffrey Hedberg will step down at the end of March after he said he would not make himself available to lead the group on a permanent basis.

Moholi, assuming she is appointed — and that now seems a virtual certainty — will face myriad challenges at Telkom. Telkom SA, the group’s principal operating subsidiary, is coming under increasing competitive pressure from mobile providers, new fibre-optic network operators and converged communications companies.

Telkom is also facing a raft of legal and regulatory problems, not least among them an investigation by the competition authorities into alleged anticompetitive behaviour dating back to early last decade, as well as several potentially damaging lawsuits alleging irregularities in the awarding of lucrative tenders.

Then there are regulatory interventions, especially local-loop unbundling, which could pile on the pressure. Unbundling will give competitors greater access to Telkom’s “last mile” of copper cables into businesses and homes.

With powerful trade unions agitating against job cuts, Moholi will also have to tread a delicate path in ensuring Telkom can streamline its operations — some executives say privately that the group is up to 20% overstaffed — while keeping government on side.  — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral


  1. The Board of Telkom SA Limited is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms Nombulelo (Pinky) Moholi as Chief Executive Officer of the company with effect from 1 April 2011.

    Ms Moholi is an experienced telecoms executive of 23 years in the ICT sector, of which 15 years was in executive management. After a formative career as an engineer at GEC and Siemens, she joined Telkom in 1994. She spent eleven years at Telkom SA during which she was promoted to several senior positions, including Group Executive: Regulatory Affairs, Managing Executive: International and Wholesale Business, and Chief Sales and Marketing Officer and a member of the Telkom Executive Committee (Exco).

    Moholi left Telkom in 2005 to join the Nedbank Group, where she served as the Chief Strategy and Corporate Affairs Officer, and a member of their Executive Committee for just over three years. She rejoined Telkom as the MD of Telkom South Africa in May 2009.

    After obtaining her Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town in 1984, Moholi completed Executive Management Programmes at Stanford and Harvard Universities. She has served as a non-executive director on a number of private and publicly listed companies.

    In appointing the Chief Executive Officer, the Board followed a rigorous evaluation process including international benchmarking and consultation with the Department of Communications, the latter a requirement specified by the company’s articles of association before the expiry of the Class A and B rights on 4 March 2011.

    The contract of the acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jeffrey Hedberg, expires at the end of March 2011. The Board of Directors have requested Mr Hedberg to remain at Telkom in an advisory capacity until the release of the Group’s annual results in June.

    On behalf of shareholders, management and staff, the Board congratulates Ms Moholi on her appointment and wishes her every success in the creation of value for all Telkom stakeholders.

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