People & Money

MTN Taps Local Rival in South Africa for New Group CFO

The move by MTN is seen as a punch to the gut of its local rival, which is fast growing. The statement announcing Molefe’s appointment came just hours after Telkom said that she had resigned as group CFO “to pursue other interests.”

MTN has appointed the immediate past Group Chief Financial Officer of South Africa-based telecommunications provider, Telkom SA.

Tsholofelo Molefe joins MTN as Group CFO, replacing Sugentharan Perumal, who has been acting in the position since September 1 after Ralph Mupita was appointed group CEO.

She served in the same capacity at Telkom since 2018 before resigning with immediate effect on December 4. Prior to that, she was chief risk officer and deputy CFO from July 2016.

Before joining Telkom, Molefe served as finance director at state power utility Eskom, as well as the CFO for the Personal Banking division of First National Bank (FNB). She is also a non-executive director on the board of Curro Holdings.

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A winner of the Finance Transformation Award and High-Performance Team Award at the 2020 CFO Awards, Molefe will take up the new role from next year, and is expected to support the Group’s new strategy. 

MTN also disclosed a few changes to its regional structure after carrying out a comprehensive review of the group strategy “with a focus on accelerating growth, deleveraging the holding company debt and unlocking value.”

The statement released late Friday said that Molefe will take up the position “as soon as practically possible in 2021, but by no later than October 1, 2021.”

“We are thrilled to have an executive of Tsholofelo’s stature join us,” chief executive Mupita said. “The board is confident that she has the experience required for the position. She will play a critical role in the growth of the business and unlocking of shareholder value.”

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The move by MTN is seen as a punch to the gut of its local rival, which is fast growing. The statement announcing Molefe’s appointment came just hours after Telkom said that she had resigned as group CFO “to pursue other interests.”

Vodacom and MTN still completely dominate the local mobile market, with 42.4 and 26.27 percent respectively. But Telkom has seen massive growth in its active mobile subscriber base recently, changing the picture significantly.

By Q1 2019, Telkom had almost doubled its market share and accounted for 9.4 percent of the reported numbers, eating away at both MTN and Vodacom. It reportedly overtook Cell C to become South Africa’s third-largest mobile operator in September this year.

The growth was on the back of the strong growth of its mobile business, driven by the surge in demand for data services amid the coronavirus lockdown.

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