The surprise resignation and an “unceremonious exit” of Cell C chief financial officer, Tyrone Soondarjee, has left the mobile phone operator’s top six management “lily-white”.
On Thursday afternoon, Soondarjee announced his departure from the position he occupied since June 2017.
It was during a Blue Label conference call to deal with requests for further explanation of elements of Cell C’s historic financial disclosure that he said he was leaving.
Since then Cell C has not issued a statement and has not responded to requests for comment.
Soondarjee, who will step down next week on Thursday, cited “personal circumstances for his decision to leave Cell C. He will join his family’s business.
Soondarjee sudden departure raises eyebrows.
He is leaving less than a year after joining the mobile phone operator from Sasfin Group.
He was the only black executive in the top six management at Cell C.
Now Cell C’s top six executives are lily white and mostly male, except Michelle Bester, Cell C’s chief customer experience officer.
For more read: Cell C Chief Financial Officer Tyrone Soondarjee Resigns
Soondarjee role will be split in the interim between Robert Pasley, Cell C’s chief strategy officer, and Douglas Craigie Stevenson, Cell C’s chief operating officer.
Pasley will assume responsibility for the funding and financing of the business. While Stevenson will take responsibility for the financial operations of the company.
Meet the White Leadership of Cell C
They are seeking to position Cell C as a serious rival to both Vodacom and MTN.
Their strategies sometimes keep the two South African operators on their toes.
They have signed-up millions of black customers and they’ve inked deals with Bonang Matheba and other big-name celebrities.
Despite their energy and complex strategies to keep the mobile phone operator afloat and competitive in a tough market, Cell C’s top management are anything but black.
Here’s a List of the Top Six Executives
- CEO – Jose Dos Santos (Male)
- Chief Strategy Officer – Robert Pasley (Male)
- Chief Financial Officer – Acting Robert Pasley (Male) and Douglas Stevenson (Male)
- Chief Operations Officer – Douglas Stevenson (Male)
- Daniel Bakker – Chief Technical Officer (Male)
- Michelle Beetar – Chief Customer Experience Officer (effectively head of marketing and sales) (female)
Although Cell C top six leadership is overwhelmingly white it has made modest diversity gains in 2017.
The company employs more blacks at a senior executive management or “chief” or “managing executive” level, such as Juliet Mhango, Joshua Moela, and Themba Phiri.
That said, Cell C is failing to transform its top six executive management compared to its rivals Vodacom and MTN.
This is not a surprise, after all, Cell C is not alone in its path to cleanse itself from the historical burden of lily-white corporate leaders.