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MTN appoints new Group Chief Commercial Officer

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Pieter Verkade has been appointed new MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer, effective February 2013.

Currently the CEO of MTN Cyprus, Verkade replaces Christian de Faria, who retires in January 2013 after 6 years with the Group. MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa, says Verkade’s appointment is further affirmation and a sign of confidence in the pool of talent within MTN.

“The fact that we are able to fill this strategic position with one of our own speaks volumes of the richness of MTN’s leadership pipeline, and the strides we are making to create an environment that recognises performance excellence. Pieter is a hard-working and well-accomplished executive who gets the job done.

In his new role, Pieter will be responsible for the strategic direction of the innovation, products and services strategy, as well as marketing across the Group.

“His appointment comes at a critical point for MTN, as our operating environment is changing quite rapidly. We have entered a phase where network operators have to compete on more than just products and services. We believe that Pieter possesses the right combination of experience and expertise to drive MTN’s strategic agenda to deliver relevant and competitive value propositions to our customers across segments,” says Dabengwa.

Pieter’s telecoms experience spans developed and emerging markets in Europe and Africa. Prior to becoming the CEO of MTN Cyprus, the Mediterranean country’s second largest mobile operator, Pieter was the Executive for Commercial Strategy and Mobile Money. In this role, he oversaw the growth and deployment of MTN Mobile Money in 15 MTN markets. MTN’s mobile money portfolio has now grown to 8.2 million customers since launch in Uganda four years ago.

As Chief Marketing Officer for MTN SA for a two-year period from 2008, Verkade contributed to the strengthening of MTN’s competitive position in the fast maturing mobile market. The Group continues to leverage his wealth of experience in the telecoms sector in which he has operated at C-Suite level since 2000 in a variety of roles. These include Chief Commercial Officer for Orange NV (Netherlands), Vice President Commercial for Orange Plc (London), Chief Financial Officer for KPN/Orange (Belgium) and Senior Vice President for Telenor (Norway).

Dabengwa paid tribute to De Faria for his sterling contribution to MTN’s growth over the years. Christian joined MTN as VP for the West and Central Africa (WECA) region in 2006 from Indonesia’s PT Excelcomindo Pratama mobile operator, of which he was CEO.

He said De Faria worked tirelessly to successfully position MTN as the leading telecoms player in the WECA region comprising some of MTN’s largest markets like Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. Later appointed as Senior VP for Commercial and Innovation, he played a pivotal role in MTN’s major transformation initiatives, including supply chain management, products and services as well as marketing and customer management.

He steered the Group’s commercial and innovation activities during the period of convergence, and forged key strategic partnerships with non-traditional telecom players to strengthen MTN’s competitive position in the digital space.

“On behalf of the MTN Group and all our employees, I would like to thank Christian for his sterling contribution to MTN’s growth. His energy, enthusiasm and passion for the MTN people, our customers and communities will be missed by all,” said Dabengwa.

Staff writer

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