Serame Taukobong appointed as Telkom’s chief executive designate

Serame Taukobong will take over as Telkom chief executive in 2022 after the departure of Sipho Maseko, whose exit from the telecommunications group was announced last month.

Telkom said on Wednesday that Taukobong — who is currently the chief executive of the company’s consumer business and a group executive committee member — had been appointed as the group’s chief executive designate. The appointment will come into effect from October. He will assume the role of the group chief executive from 1 July 2022.

Taukobong joined Telkom in 2018, having previously spent 10 years at MTN, where he served as chief operating officer and later as the chief executive of the mobile operator’s Ghana business.

“As [chief executive]  of the Telkom consumer business, the mobile business customer base grew three-fold to 15-million and its revenue almost doubled to R20-billion within a three-year period,” Telkom’s announcement on Wednesday said.

“Under his leadership, Telkom Mobile has become the third largest mobile business in South Africa.”

The announcement comes just weeks after Telkom revealed that Maseko would step down. At the time, the company said the process to appoint a successor was well underway.

In line with the board’s leadership transition plan, Telkom said on Wednesday, Maseko and Taukobong will work together for the remainder of the former’s tenure “to ensure orderly transition of the group chief executive designate and the stability of the business”. 

The Telkom board thanked Maseko for assembling a strong team “that has enabled effective succession”.

Earlier on Wednesday, Telkom released its first-quarter trading update, which showed that group revenue was up 3.5% year on year to R10.6-billion. 

Revenue growth was driven mainly by Telkom’s mobile business. According to the trading update, active mobile customers were up 36.3% year on year to 16.1-million. Mobile service revenue grew 13% to R4.4-billion.

In a statement, Maseko said that despite the South African economy gradually opening after the first waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, “customers remain under severe financial pressure due to loss of jobs, reduced income and liquidation of small businesses”. 

Customers seeking to manage their spend were reluctant to renew postpaid contracts, with some customers opting to switch from postpaid to prepaid contracts, Maseko added.

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Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit
Sarah Smit is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She covers topics relating to labour, corruption and the law.

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