MTN sees van Coller leave as African operator is linked to more business unit sales

20 July 2018 | James Pearce


MTN has announced the departure of its vice president of digital services, data analytics and business development Stephen van Coller.

MTN said van Coller will leave with effect from 31 August in order to take of the group CEO role at IT service management EOH. He joined MTN in 2016, as VP of mergers and acquisitions.

"Under Stephen’s leadership the mobile financial services customer base more than doubled to 25-million and significant progress has been made across the group in building big data analytics and rich media services across music, video and gaming," said Shuter said in a statement.

MTN said his successor will be appointed at a later date.

It comes as reports are claiming that MTN’s decision to sell its subsidiary in Cyprus is part of a larger strategy to exit small or challenging markets, including several based in West Africa.

Citing sources close to the matter, Bloomberg claims the African mobile company is considering options for a number of West African business units, with those in Liberia, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau potentially facing a sale.

The report says that MTN CEO Rob Shuter is leading a review of the African firm’s operations, which fits with an announcement he made in March which said he was assessing the 22 markets MTN currently operates in.

MTN recently offloaded the Cypriot unit to French mogul Xavier Niel for around $300 million, marking the first country it had exited. Niel said he may use the acquisition to expand his Mediterranean presence, while MTN said the operation fell outside of its core footprint of Africa and the Middle East. MTN Cyprus was the African operator’s only unit in the European Unit.

Cyprus was MTN’s smallest operating unit in terms of subscribers, followed by Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and South Sudan.