Nhleko, one of South Africa’s best-know black businessmen who has been MTN’s CEO since 2002, said in a statement that he will continue to deliver on MTN strategic priorities and ensure a thorough handover to his successor until his departure.
“I have given this decision very careful consideration. I feel it is the right time to secure the next generation of leadership for the group and the right time for me personally to start thinking about the next phase of my career,” Nhleko said.
MTN shares were 0.18 percent lower at 111.70 rand by 0707 GMT, underperforming the JSE Securities Exchange’s blue chip TOP-40 index, which was up 0.7 percent.
MTN chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said Nhleko’s commitment to continue as CEO until a successor is in place will ensure a smooth transition.
Under Nhleko’s leadership, MTN has grown into a group with more than 100 million subscribers operating in more than 20 countries.
But Nhleko has twice failed to secure a tie-up with Indian mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel, the most recent in September last year.