Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

Why Nnanna, Ex-CBN Dep. Gov. was appointed to lead turnaround of Etisalat Nigeria


More details have emerged on the choice the former deputy governor, Financial System Stability of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Joseph Nnanna, as the new chairman of Etisalat Nigeria.

It would be recalled a new board of directors and management were hurriedly reconstituted for the embattled telecoms made of representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the consortium of banks owed part of the $1.2 billion syndicated loan.

The appointments stemmed from the massive resignation of members of the previous board and management in the last few weeks starting with the Dubai based major investors, Mudabala Group, original owners of the brand name, Etisalat.

Other members of the reconstituted board to be led by former deputy governor, Financial System Stability of CBN, Dr. Joseph Nnanna, as the new chairman; include the new CEO of Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Boye Olusanya; head of KPMG West Africa Region, Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth; country business executive leader of PwC Nigeria/West Africa, Mr. Ken Igbokwe and chief finance officer, Mrs. Funke Ighodaro.

Additional details show that whereas Olusanya  replaces Mr. Matthew Willsher, Mrs. Funke Ighodaro takes over from Mr. Olawole Obasunloye as CFO.

A senior manager at the Lagos office of the CBN confided in Business Hilights on Wednesday that “The major factor considered by the CBN to name Nnanna as lead in the emerging Etisalat was his tested tenacity in managing financial systems stability which I think, the company needs now”.

Business Hilights gathered that Dr. Nnanna is an economist and a central banker with over 30 years of post qualification professional experience.

After primary and secondary education, he enrolled at the prestigious William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey and University of Houston, in Houston Texas, USA from 1975-80, where he read Finance, Public Policy and Economics.

He was appointed deputy governor (Financial System Stability) at the apex bank on February 3, 2015.

This is coming after serving severally as full time consultant to the government of Nigeria as a technical assistant to the National Economic Management Team and the Presidential Steering Committee on Global economic crisis. He was also a part-time consultant to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Other experts to work with Nnanna in recapitalization of the company include Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth, non executive director, Etisalat Nigeria who is the national senior partner of KPMG professional services, Nigeria.

He is a member of the Global Board, while Mr. Ken Igbokwe, non executive director, Etisalat Nigeria specialises in strategy, enterprise transformation, process reengineering, taxation advisory and business reconstruction.

Ighodaro, executive director finance of Etisalat was chief financial officer of Tiger Brands Limited from 2011 to 2016 and CFO of Primedia (Pty) Ltd from 2001 to 2011. Funke also worked in the corporate finance division of Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank. She trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in London where she spent a total of 10 years in audit and tax.

Olusanya, former deputy CEOs of Econet Wireless Nigeria and Celtel Nigeria respectively has handled high level responsibilities at Dangote Industries Limited where he served as chief business transformation officer responsible for management of all enterprise-wide projects in the Group. He was also MD at Dancom Technologies Limited with responsibility for managing all the telecom assets and the IT Infrastructure.

Whereas many observers expressed worry on why the CBN and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) waited till the voluntary resignation of all directors to begin serious intervention, it was further gathered that Etisalat and its creditors have suddenly reached an amicable resolution of its N333 billion debt owed the consortium of banks.

In a statement by NCC earlier in the week, it said Etisalat and its creditors have successfully reached an amicable resolution of key issues pertaining to its indebtedness and that a smooth transitional process is currently ongoing on mutually agreed terms.

The statement issued by Tony Ojobo, director, public affairs of NCC, said “The Commission is confident that the amicable resolutions reached by the parties will further strengthen Etisalat’s capacity to continue to provide services to its over 20million customers and to fulfil its obligations to its other stakeholders as a going concern, regardless of any changes that the parties have agreed to Etisalat’s ownership, its Board and/or its Executive Management.

“We further wish to assure that as empowered by the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, the Commission will continue to work assiduously with all industry stakeholders to ensure that the Nigerian telecommunications industry remains capable of playing its critical role as a key driver of national socio-economic development.

“NCC is mindful of the need to sustain the industry’s significant contribution to National GDP, employment and infrastructure roll-out at all times. The Commission’s intervention in the matter was informed by these considerations, and we are pleased at the success of the ongoing process.

“The Commission also wishes to acknowledge the pivotal role of the Central Bank of Nigeria in resolving the matter in a manner that protects the interests of all stakeholders – especially the creditor banks and Etisalat’s over 20million customers,” NCC assured.