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MTN chief quits post

Phuthuma Nhleko, group president and chief executive of MTN

Having missed the executive exodus that took place last week, Phuthuma Nhleko, group president and chief executive of African carrier MTN chose to kick this week off by announcing plans to depart after eight years at the helm.

Nhleko said Monday that he will not be renewing his long term contract which ends June 30, standing down as group president and CEO. Nhleko has, however, agreed with to continue in his role up to March 2011 to enable a transition to his as yet unnamed successor.

Nhleko did not give a detail reason for his decision, saying only that it is the “Right time to secure the next generation of leadership for the group – and the right time for me personally to start thinking about the next phase of my career.”

Cyril Ramaphosa, chairman of MTN, said the firm will “explore other options for an ongoing association between Phuthuma and the group post his service as president and CEO.”

The prospect of consolidation among African and Middle Eastern operators provided much fuel for the industry rumour mill in 2009, but long running talks between Bharti and MTN collapsed last year amid concerns on the part of the South African government that its national champion could fall into foreign hands.

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