AFRICA – Telecoms company MTN Group, has announced a review of its executive structure as the company gears up to deliver on its Ambition 2025 strategy to transform from a Telco to a TechCo.

In line with this strategic shift, the company has appointed Ernst Fonternel into the role of Chief Consumer Officer and Divyesh Joshi into the role of Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer. Both appointments were recruited internally and are effective 1 October.

The new executive structure also sees the introduction of two new roles including that of Chief Commercial Operations Officer and Chief Risk Officer. Active recruiting for these positions is currently underway.

“The current top-tier structure has been optimal to enable us to evolve and grow the business to where we are today. However, in pursuit of Ambition 2025, the current structure needed to be optimised to adequately support our strategic ambition,” said MTN SA CEO, Charles Molapisi.

“I am pleased to announce the appointments of Ernst and Divyesh, both of whom are internal appointments who bring a wealth of knowledge to these roles.”

Fonternel, an industry veteran according to the company, has served for well over 20 years in the telecommunication industry, most of which has been at MTN SA.

He has strong commercial depth with a solid understanding of the SA mobile business models and distributors and currently leads the Digital and Online portfolios as Chief Digital officer within the MTN SA business.

Fonternel previously served as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) at MTN Zambia from 2009 to 2012, successfully growing market share and revenue for that business.

He also held the position of CMO in MTN Uganda, where he helped to reposition MTN as the provider of choice in the Ugandan market. He holds a B. Comm. (Accountancy) qualification from the University of Johannesburg.

Having spent many years in the business serving in various leadership roles within the finance business, including acting as interim MTN SA CFO during 2020 Joshi is a dynamic and highly experienced leader with a deep understanding of the telco industry.

He has a strong track record of building and integrating finance functions, solving complex business problems through strong business partnering, leading the delivery of significant business transactions, and providing key financial insights to support commercial decision-making.

Joshi currently holds the position of General Manager responsible for Finance Digital Transformation and is a qualified CA (SA) and holds a M.Comm (Taxation) from the University of Pretoria.

Molapisi explains that these appointments and the recruitment for the new roles are designed to deliver agile ways of work to simplify cross-functional interfaces, enhance our focus on key and new revenue streams, and better align commercial and support functions and focused sales and distribution structures.

The introduction of the Chief Commercial Operations Officer provides an elevated focus on Brand and Marketing, Customer Service Operations, Sales and Distribution, Regional Operations and Digital Online.

As telcos move towards delayering and greater verticalisation of business units, the risk function requires particular industry depth. The risk function requires a thorough telco consideration from finance, pricing, commercial partnerships, network, and IT perspective.

“The fast-paced world of telecommunications and technology requires an agile, responsive, and pioneering leadership approach. To this end, our focus has been on defining, designing, and shaping a future-fit leadership model for MTN SA, leveraging the extensive experience and expertise within the senior leadership team,” concludes Molapisi.  

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