Africa’s 5 Most Troubled Tech Executives

January 27, 2014 • Lists

Being in charge of a large corporation can be tricky at times, but with the right executive in the right position, most companies can be assured of profits. But while some organisations flourish without incident, others are forced to deal with unethical and sometimes even scanadaouls behaviour within their executive ranks.

IT News Africa takes a look at five African technology executives who were either fired from their positions, investigated for misconduct, or had to leave under dubious circumstances.

Telkom’s CFO, Mr Jacques Schindehütte (Image source: Windi-

Telkom’s CFO, Mr Jacques Schindehütte (Image source: Windi-

1.       Jacques Schindehütte – Telkom (South Africa)

Serving as Telkom’s Chief Financial Officer, Schindehütte was placed on suspension in late 2013, pending a disciplinary hearing. According to a Telkom statement, “The suspension relates to allegations of personal misconduct levelled against Mr Schindehütte and which came to the Board’s attention through a whistleblower,”. After the suspension, it was revealed that “the allegations relate to a loan of over R6 million granted by the mobile operator to its former CFO, which, it has been reported, could be in contravention of the Companies Act, which would render the transaction null and void.”

Michael Ugwu, former CEO of iRoking (image: file)

Michael Ugwu, former CEO of iRoking (image: file)

2.       Michael Ugwu – iRoking (Nigeria)

iRoking, the digital music powerhouse in Nigeria, saw CEO Michael Ugwu dramatically exit the company late last year. Owned by Jason Njoku‘s Iroko Partners, a company statement says that Ugwu was asked to leave after allegations of gross misconduct were levelled against him. “It came to light that, whilst under contract and salary with iROKING, Michael Ugwu set up and launched his own digital music platform, in direct competition with iROKING. This is an unequivocal breach of the robust non-compete and confidentiality clause he signed when he joined the iROKO team,” the company reveals in a statement.

John Wambugu, former CEO of  Kenya Network Information Center (image: file)

John Wambugu, former CEO of Kenya Network Information Center (image: file)

3.       John Wambugu – Kenya Network Information Center (Kenya)

While the exact reason for his departure still remains unclear, Kenya Network Information Center’s CEO John Wambugu, was asked to vacate his position in late 2013. Wambugu was employed in the position for only a couple of months and according to sources, he was fired “for being incompetent” by the company’s board – which was chaired by Professor Jimmy Macharia. Under Wambugu’s leadership, KNIC saw a reversal of profits, as expenses topped $340,000, while generated revenue slumped to only $17,600. Wambugu was replaced by Sammy Burucahara.

The former country manager of Google Kenya, Olga Arara-Kimani (image: Daily Nation)

The former country manager of Google Kenya, Olga Arara-Kimani (image: Daily Nation)

4.       Olga Arara-Kimani – Google (Kenya)

In the wake of allegations against Google brought by Kenyan-based online business directory Mocality, the country manager of Google Kenya, Olga Arara-Kimani, has left the company. Mocality posted evidence on their blog showing that Google was in violation of their terms of use by scraping their business directory, with call centre agents falsely claiming Google had a relationship with Mocality. Google Kenya confirmed the departure, but declined to give further details. When the allegations came to light, Nelson Mattos, Google vice-president for product and engineering in Europe and Emerging Markets released a statement in which he expressed his displeasure.

Communications Minister Dina Pule (image: techcentral)

Communications Minister Dina Pule (image: techcentral)

5.       Dina Pule – former Minister of Communications (South Africa)

South African President Jacob Zuma announced in mid-2013 a cabinet reshuffle, resulting in the end of Dina Pule’s tenure as Communications Minister. As Minister, Pule was often the subject of criticism, persistent allegations of corruption, nepotism, and cadre deployment. Industry analyst Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx, said Pule’s removal from her position was “predictable” because of the scrutiny she was under, ongoing investigations and the lack of activity in her department. In late 2013, Pule was found guilty of misconduct and of wilfully misleading Parliament regarding her relationship with Phosane Mngqibisa, who benefited financially from an ICT conference that the Department hosted.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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