Vodacom CEO on ‘Study Leave’, Vuyani Jarana ‘May’ Rejoin the Operator

“The board believes Jarana is a capable executive who understand Vodacom and the telecoms industry, who can readily assume the CEO position at short notice.”

Shameel Joosub, VODACOM ceo.
Shameel Joosub, VODACOM ceo. Image source. Vodacom Twitter

Vodacom’s boss is on study leave and the chief financial officer (CFO) is acting as CEO of the mobile phone operator, TechFinancials has learned.

British mobile phone giant Vodafone, which owns Vodacom, has sent Shameel Joosub to study at Harvard Business School, a reliable source this week told TechFinancials.

Another source at the company confirmed that Till Strichert, Vodacom’s CFO has been appointed as acting CEO.

However, Vodacom wouldn’t be drawn into commenting the matter.

“Vodacom does not comment on internal matters of this nature,” a Vodacom spokesperson said in an email response.

Asked when is Joosbub contract was ending, the response was: “The Vodacom Group CEO does not have a fixed-term contract that expires.”

Joosub was appointed as Vodacom Group CEO, succeeding Pieter Uys who stepped down at the end of March 2013.

Joosub joined Vodacom in March 1994 after completing his articles and has held various positions within Vodacom.

He served as Managing Director of Vodacom SA from 1 April 2005, to 31 March 2011, before taking up the position as CEO of Vodafone Spain on 1 April 2011.

TechFinancials has also learned that Vodacom is seeking to bring back ex-CEO of the national carrier Vuyani Jarana.

Sources said the aim of bringing back Jarana was to ensure a smooth succession for the position of CEO.

“Jarana is currently unemployed after leaving SAA and has previously done a sterling job at Vodacom,” said the source, who insisted on anonymity.

Vuyani Jarana
Vuyani Jarana

“The board believes Jarana is a capable executive who understand Vodacom and the telecoms industry, who can readily assume the CEO position at short notice.”

In May, Jarana left SAA having served just over two years as the boss of the struggling airline.

He cited slow decision-making and red tape at the airline, as well as blurred lines of accountability, for his departure.

Jarana was previously chief operating officer at Vodacom before heading up its enterprise division.

He is credited with transforming and positioning Vodacom Business as a growth engine of Vodacom, growing its contribution to group service revenues from under 10% to 25% over three years.

He also turned around Stortech, a 51% subsidiary of Vodacom, from a declining business to a new growth company, by changing the shareholding structure and developing a new strategy that responded to the changes in the market. – lourie@techfinancials.co.za

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