Happiness Zengeni Business Editor—–
A massive management shake-up looms at state-owned mobile company NetOne as Government moves to improve performance and expand operations in a bid to unlock value. This comes as the mobile network operator has failed to churn out meaningful returns to its shareholder (Government) who has invested over $500 million in its operations to date. The business brought in circa $100 million last year but profitability is still depressed in the $5 million region.
According to the latest telecoms report by the Postal and Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, NetOne’s mobile traffic’s market share closed the year at 28 percent second to Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s 51 percent. The telecoms firm expects a 51 percent increase in subscribers by the close of 2015 from the 3,3 million reported at the end of 2014.
In a bid to turnaround its fortunes, the group last week put out advertisements for 24 key posts including for a chief operating officer, chief finance officer and chief technical officer. The applications are being handled by Memory Nguwi’s IPC consultants.
Well placed sources told The Herald Business last week that NetOne’s Reward Kangai who is the managing director is earmarked for the group chief executive officer’s title which will, however, come with less influence. The more influential role will be for the chief operating officer.
Mr Kangai has been with the group since it started operations in 1996. The restructuring is being spearheaded by the company’s board led by Mr Alex Marufu with approval from the ministry.
Sources also said marketing and sales director Mrs Memory Ndoro-Mandiya is earmarked for a demotion to just a stakeholder relations manager.
“The shake-up is part of a turnaround plan which will bring in sharp brains to the company. People who are skilled in specific areas,” said an inside source who added that there were fears that the current team had failed to negotiate some of the supply deals and this had prejudiced the company of millions of dollars.
“Some of the deals are heavily skewed towards the suppliers simply because of the absence of skills with technical expertise.”
The company is looking for a chief technical officer who will formulate the technical projects strategy which is vertically integrated to the corporate strategy and that ensures optimum network reliability at the lowest cost.
The position (of CTO) will provide strong leadership and technical guidance across functional teams in order to manage large scale projects.
Mr Kangai recently said NetOne is aiming to achieve revenues of $200 million by year end as it moves ahead with its network expansion project which has a strong focus of 4G technology.