African operator group MTN hit back at claims its major shareholder was looking for changes to the board, stating the original report carried unsubstantiated rumours and inaccuracies.
Bloomberg reported South Africa’s Public Investment Corp (PIC), which owns 26 per cent of MTN, wanted change following regulatory, legal and political disputes which have impacted the company’s operations, particularly in Nigeria.
Among its requests was the replacement of chairman Phuthuma Nhleko and a reorganisation of the board.
However, MTN said that “contrary to what the story alleges”, PIC requested it extended Nhleko’s term longer than originally intended, until 15 December, to ensure an orderly hand-over to designated successor Mcebisi Jonas.
Also under debate was the role of MTN’s International Advisory Board (IAB), which Bloomberg described as a “council of wise old men, who can directly contact lawmakers and decision makers in the countries where MTN operates”.
In a statement, MTN said the primary purpose of the group is “to provide general global and/or sector specific perspectives that may enrich the perspectives of the operating company’s board as it strives to contribute to certain areas of development in the countries in which it operates”.
The group was “conceptualised” before PIC increased its shareholding in MTN, it stated.
MTN previously said the IAB “is a non-statutory entity comprised of selected members” which doesn’t perform any “fiduciary duties nor does it assume any accountability for the publicly quoted entity”.
“IAB will not opine on any matters that have to do with the operations of the business.”
It is headed by Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa.