• Monday, June 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Analysts say MTN’s decision on Nigerian CFO might help recover losses

MTN-Store

MTN Nigeria has announced the appointment of its first ever Nigerian Chief Financial Officer (CFO) since it commenced operations in the country 15 years ago. Experts say this might be a smart move to help balance the company’s losses due to the huge fine issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission last year.

Adekunle Awobodu was appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of MTN Nigeria, making him the first Nigerian to occupy the position after being vacated by Ferdi Moolman who became the CEO of the company in December 2015.

Analysts say this move might be due to the company’s recent disparities between the Nigerian government concerning the huge N1.04 trillion fine issued to it by the regulator for failing to disconnect 5.5 million improperly registered SIM cards before the stipulated time.

“I believe MTN had to appoint a Nigerian CFO to manage its finances properly in this market. They realised that they need somebody that understands the Nigerian market, government and operations very well.

“Since the issuance of the fine by the NCC and the constant back and forth negotiations between the company and the Nigerian government, MTN stocks worldwide have been affected and although the issue has finally been sorted out, the company has lost a lot of money, so they needed to reposition and who best to handle their finances in the Nigerian market than a Nigerian who understands the market thoroughly,” Emara Abah, a financial consultant and auditor at SIAO accounting firm, told BusinessDay.

MTN which became the first GSM network to make a call, following the globally lauded Nigerian GSM auction conducted by the NCC in 2001, paying $285 million for one of four GSM licenses in the country in January 2001 had since then had foreign nationals heading its finance department  here.

In 2013, Michael Ikpoki became MTN Nigeria’s first Nigerian Chief Executive Officer (CEO), taking over from foreign Brett Goschen and telecoms industry analysts say MTN has taken the right step by appointing a Nigerian to head financial services in the country.

Announcing the appointment, Moolman said as Chief Financial Officer, Awobodu will serve as MTNN’s strategic Financial Business Partner and lead the organisation in facilitating decision-making through sound business insights and analysis that drive business improvement and performance.

According to the company, Awobodu is eminently qualified to do the job he has been given.

“With over 22 years, professional experience and international exposure in Finance, Awobodu holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance & Banking from the University of Lagos and a Masters’ degree in Finance from the University of Leicester. He holds several professional certifications such as ACCA UK; CIA (Certified Internal Auditor); CMA (Certified Management Accountant); CertIFR (ACCA’s Certificate in International Financial Reporting) and Associateship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB).”

Awobodu began his career in 1994 with Procter and Gamble (P&G) Nigeria Ltd. and held various positions – Group Manager, Financial Analysis & Treasury, Lagos; Group Manager, Plant Finance & Accounting, Ibadan and Financial/Senior Financial Analyst.

He then joined MTN Nigeria’s Finance Division in February 2002 as Fixed Assets Manager and rose through the ranks becoming the first Nigerian CFO of MTN Iran.

According to Moolman, “Awobodu’s appointment is indeed a strong reflection of the MTN talent management creed; Management’s commitment to it and the quality and abundance of talent in MTN Nigeria.”

JUMOKE AKIYODE