Telkom appoints turnaround specialist as acting CEO

Telkom has appointed Jeffrey Hedberg, head of its struggling Nigerian unit, as acting group chief executive to replace Reuben September.

Hedberg is regarded as a turnaround specialist and was brought into the company to assist with struggling Nigeria’s Multi-Links, after he helped South Africa’s smallest cellphone operator Cell C.

September, who has led the company for the past three years, agreed to step down as CEO from July 11 and will assume a consulting role until November 1.

A 33-year-old veteran of the company, September sold off Telkom’s stake in its main profit driver, cellphone operator Vodacom, last year.

He then announced a R6-billion plan to push Telkom into the overcrowded cellphone market, a move one analyst described as “suicide”.

Multi-Links is one of four operators using the CDMA technology platform in a market overwhelmingly dominated by the rival GSM standard. Telkom wrote down the value of the unit by R5,2-billion in the financial year to end-March.

Shares of Telkom were down 0,35% at R37,53, lagging a 0,36% firmer South Africa’s all-share index. – Reuters

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