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KonkNaija Media | May 2, 2016

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Michael Ikpoki becomes the first Nigerian MTN CEO

The much awaited Human Right Violation law suit against MTN Nigeria by 64 Ex-Staff who claimed not given fair hearing before being laid off and lay-off was unfair, unjust and not in accordance with the company’s HR Policy or Procedure was finally heard on July 2, 2013 at the ECOWAS Court of Justice Abuja, Nigeria.

Barely one week before the ECOWAS Court Abuja hearing. The CEO Brett Groschen sent out an email to all staff of MTN Nigeria informing them of a mass lay off which will cut across all departments. The department that will be affected the most will be the Customer Relations Department.

A reliable source stated that immediately the email popped up on individual PC screens the entire organisation turned to a grave yard. Why lay off in the midst of a law suit with similar undertone which occurred in 2009? Our source stated that the 2013 proposed lay-off was different and will be in accordance with the company’s HR policy and procedure. Our source further stated that lay off was very necessary due to a huge drop in company’s revenue, under-performance and unethical dealings within the company. All these was stated in the CEO’s mail our source ended.

Meanwhile, the 2009 lay off only hit the Customer Relations Department with no prior communication from the then CEO Ahmad Farouk who later was replaced by Brett Groschen in 2010. A current staff of the company who simply gave her name as Tobi stated; “In 2009 we wanted an overhaul and needed the best hands in all departments. We knew that Customer Relations has the best hands in any Telecoms company. These are raw talents that can be groomed into different departments. There was to be a massive job rotation across the Customer Relations Department and beyond. We promoted some of these talents September 2009 in preparation for the next phase but this was hidjacked by some top CR Executives who saw it as an opportunity to kick people out. Those kicked out at the end were our trusted and reliable hands. I can swear I don’t know how it happened. You can see the disarray in the company since 2009 as we move from one issue to another; Jos call centre, law suits here and there etc”.

Michael Ikpoki, currently the CEO of MTN Ghana has been named as the new Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria.

Ikpoki replaces Brett Goschen, who took on the role of MTN Group Chief Financial Officer and Executive Financial Director on the Board on Monday.

Ikpoki was appointed CEO of MTN Ghana in April 2011 after successfully running MTN Nigeria’s Sales and Distribution channel as its Executive from 2006.
He joined MTN in 2001 as a Regulatory Advisor after a six-year stint with the Nigerian Communications Commission’s legal division.

A seasoned business executive, Michael is well read, with an academic profile that includes General Management Programme at Harvard Business School; Sales, from INSEAD Business School; Finance and Analytics, from Lagos Business School and LLB from Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

Other appointments announced by MTN Group today include Serame Taukobong, erstwhile Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of MTN SA, who is the new CEO of MTN Ghana. Brian Gouldie, Chief Customer Sales, Service and Distribution Officer at MTN SA, is the new CMO of MTN SA. Farhad Khan, Executive for the Group Enterprise Business Unit, takes over from Gouldie as Chief Customer Sales, Service and Distribution Officer at MTN SA. Philisiwe Sibiya, Executive in Group Finance, is the new Chief Financial Officer of MTN SA.

“MTN has a strong leadership bench strength. As part of its talent management and leadership development, MTN invests significantly towards building a sustainable supply of quality leaders. We are therefore pleased to make these announcements drawn from our leadership succession pool,” said MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa.

Meanwhile, all defendants and plaintiff were fully represented by their lawyers who appeared before the ECOWAS Court of Justice Abuja on July 2, 2013. The Ex-MTN staff laid off unlawfully and unfairly in 2009 were also available at the court.

The House Committee on Public Petition (National Assembly) Abuja in a Gazette dated January 17, 2013 had since condemned the 2009 lay off by MTN Nigeria.

October 3, 2013 had since been slated by the ECOWAS Court Abuja as the date adjourned for ruling on preliminary objection.