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MTN Group Ltd. said Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Dabengwa resigned from Africa’s biggest mobile-phone company following a $5.2 billion fine by Nigerian regulators related to unregistered subscribers.
Non-Executive Chairman Phuthuma Nhleko has agreed to act as executive chairman for a maximum period of six months while the company identifies a successor to Dabengwa, Johannesburg-based MTN said in a statement on Monday.
Dabengwa resigned over the weekend after consultation with the board and his financial compensation hasn’t been resolved, spokesman Chris Maroleng said by phone. “Due to the most unfortunate prevailing circumstances occurring at MTN Nigeria, I, in the interest of the company and its shareholders, have tendered my resignation with immediate effect,” Dabengwa said in the statement.
MTN has until Nov. 16 to pay the Nigeria penalty, which relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million subscribers and is based on a charge of 200,000 naira ($1,008) for each unregistered customer.
The company’s shares lost almost a quarter of their value following the disclosure of the fine, before a partial recovery.
“I proactively deal with the Nigerian regulator and will continue to work with them in addressing the issues around unregistered subscribers as a matter of urgency,” Nhleko said.
MTN will continue to inform shareholders of any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities, the company said.