Friday, March 18, 2011

MTN Group Appoints First Nigerian to CEO Position

Michael Ikpoki, New MTN Ghana CEO

In order to sustain one of its objectives of a strategic talent development plan in the MTN Group, the leading telecommunications operator in Africa and the Middle East, has announced the appointment of Mr. Michael Ikpoki as the first Nigerian Chief Executive Officer in the Group.  Mr. Ikpoki will head the Ghana operations of the company. 
Ikpoki, who is currently the Sales and Distribution Executive of MTN Nigeria, replaces Mr. Brett Goshen who takes over from Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as the new CEO of MTN Nigeria.  The appointment takes effect from 1st April, 2011.
In a statement made available to, MTN Group President and CEO, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko said that “through his developmental growth and exposure to various facets of the business, Michael has gained extensive experience in public policy, stakeholder engagement as well as exposure to sales and distribution and commercial operations at senior level.”
The statement noted that Ikpoki’s appointment signposts a steady ascendancy of home-grown talent into key leadership roles in the MTN Group since it commenced operations in Nigeria ten years ago.
It would be recalled that in October 2009, the MTN Group appointed another Nigerian, Adekunle Awobodu as the company's Chief Financial Officer for MTN IranCell, the second fastest growing operating unit in the group, after MTN Nigeria.  In addition, Mr. Abiodun Alagbe is currently the Chief Financial Officer of MTN Zambia.
Besides sales and distribution where he has made indelible mark, Ikpoki also has extensive experience in commercial and general management, public policy, regulatory affairs and stakeholder management at middle, senior and top management positions in the telecommunications industry.
Ikpoki joined MTN Nigeria as Regulatory Adviser in 2001 and was promoted to General Manager, Regulatory Affairs in 2004. In July 2005, he was promoted General Manager Sales and Distribution, Northern Region, where he managed sales and distribution operations, customer service structures, dealers and market development activities in the Northern Region of the company.
The following year, he was further elevated to oversee Sales Operations. In that position, he had responsibility for overseeing all Regional operations, ensuring that all the company’s national sales and revenue targets were met.
He performed so well in this role that he was in November 2006 elevated in acting capacity to the position of Sales and Distribution Executive, where he had oversight of the implementation of MTN Nigeria’s sales and distribution strategy and operations, among other functions. In August of the following year, his appointment into this role was confirmed.
Prior to joining MTN, Ikpoki worked with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) where he was at various times Deputy Manager, Legal and Senior Manager, Legal, responsible for articulating legal advice and making input on policy and regulatory issues in the telecom industry.
Ikpoki had also practised as a lawyer with the firms of J.B. Daudu & Co and Serena Dokubo & Co. before he joined the NCC.
He attended Rivers State University of Science & Technology, Port-Harcourt, where he read law and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1991.
He is married with children.

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