Etisalat Nigeria's C-Level execs resign due to debt crisis

Natalie Bannerman
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The CEO, CFO and chairman of Etisalat Nigeria have all stepped down, with the company appointing a new interim board

The CEO Matthew Willsher, CFO Wole Obasunloye and chairman Hakeem Belo-Osagie of Etisalat Nigeria have all resigned following the controversy surrounding their unpaid $1.2 billion loan to a syndicate of thirteen local banks and financial lenders.

The announcement follows news that the Etisalat Group and Mubadala Development Company have pulled out of Etisalat Nigeria and both stepped down from the board. Also the Etisalat Group has transferred 45% of its stakes and 25% of its shares in the subsidiary to United Capital Trustees Limited, the legal representative of the lending banks.

The company has now assigned an interim board comprising of former CEO of Econet Wireless, Boye Olusanya as the acting CEO and managing director. Joseph Nnanna who was the chairman of the Africa Finance Corporation, has been named as the new chairman of the board. Funke Ighodaro who was previously chief financial officer of Tiger Brands Limited, will act as the executive director of finance and lastly national senior partner of KPMG Professional Services, Nigeria, Oluseyi Bickersteth & Ken Igbokwe who previously acted as country business executive leader of PwC Nigeria and West African, have been appointed as non-executive directors.

A spokesperson for Etisalat Nigeria said: "Etisalat Nigeria today confirms that as a result of the on-going restructuring efforts, a new board has been constituted.

"The Consortium of Lenders, working with the regulators NCC and the Central Bank of Nigeria are committed to the on-going efforts to restructure the company towards a path of long term success of the business and the appointment of a seasoned board of directors and top management is a testament to this. 

"The decisions reached so far reflect the high confidence all the stakeholders have in the continued viability and sustainability of the business. The smooth transition is also proof of management’s commitment to ensure that the operations of the company run seamlessly, and customers continue to enjoy superior network quality and positive customer experience."