CBN deputy governor emerges Etisalat chairman

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Ozioma Ubabukoh

The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Joseph Nnanna, has emerged as the new Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, and will henceforth lead the company’s new Board of Directors.

The CBN and the Nigerian Communications Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that they took the decision on the new appointments after several weeks of meeting in order to save the telecommunications firm from closing shop.

Also appointed to the board of Etisalat Nigeria are Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth, Mr. Ken Igbokwe, Mr. Boye Olusanya and Mrs. Funke Ighodaro.

While Bickersteth and Igbokwe will act as non-executive directors, Olusanya assumes office as the Chief Executive Officer to replace Mr. Matthew Willsher; and Ighodaro takes over from Mr. Olawole Obasunloye as the Chief Finance Officer.

Etisalat Nigeria said in statement that Willsher was retained as an adviser to the new CEO “till his contract with the company runs out in December 2017.”

Despite the appointments, the country’s banking shares dropped by 2.3 per cent on Tuesday, causing the main index to fall by 1.1 per cent as investors sold shares on worries that lenders might be forced to take a “haircut” on Etisalat’s $589m loan.

“Half-year earnings season has started for companies listed on the Lagos bourse and lenders, under pressure to avoid loan-loss provisions, had been pushing to finalise restructuring talks before interim audits in June,” the Reuters reported.

The NCC and CBN said in a statement that despite the changes in the board of directors of Etisalat Nigeria, they had put certain measures in place to strengthen the company’s capacity to continue to provide quality data and voice services.

The statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, read in part, “We further wish to assure Etisalat subscribers 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.

“The NCC is mindful of the need to sustain the industry’s significant contribution to national Gross Domestic Product, 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 20 million customers.”

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