Telkom SA picks insider as CEO to replace Sipho Maseko

SOUTH AFRICATelkom SA has appointed Serame Taukobong as the company’s CEO-designate to take over when Sipho Maseko leaves the company in June 2022.

Taukobong is the current head of the Telkom Consumer Business and a member of the executive committee.

Taukobong, a telecommunications industry veteran, will become CEO-designate on 1 October.

“Serame is a seasoned executive, with deep experience in the ICT sector in South African and the continent. His appointment ensures continuity of our value-unlock strategy,” said Telkom chairman Sello Moloko in a statement.

“Having worked under Maseko’s leadership for three years, I know I will be taking over a solid business with a capable and committed team,” Taukobong said in the statement.

“The team and I are conscious of the challenges that lie ahead and are committed to attracting and retaining the best people, winning in the marketplace, and delivering value for shareholders,” he added.

Extensive experience

Taukobong joined Telkom in June 2018 and has extensive experience in telecoms, having spent about 10 years at rival MTN Group, where he held several senior roles which included chief operating officer and later CEO of MTN Ghana.

As CEO of the Telkom consumer business, the mobile business customer base grew three-fold to 15 million and its revenue almost doubled to R20-billion (US$1.4 billion) within a three-year period, Telkom said.

Under his leadership, the mobile arm has become the third-largest mobile business in South Africa.

“The board, group CEO and the group CEO-designate remain committed to structurally separate Telkom and unlock value for shareholders,” the partially state-owned operator said.

Among the value-unlock exercises, Telkom is looking for investors for its masts and towers business, which it reckons is undervalued since it is trapped in the group structure.

“The board, group CEO and the group CEO-designate remain committed to structurally separate Telkom and unlock value for shareholders”

Telkom SA

It is also considering spinning off its data center business.

The unbundling exercise was started by Maseko, who has been credited for successfully turning the operator around from a business-facing declining fixed-line voice revenue to a digitally-led one fit to compete with the top two players, MTN and Vodacom.

During the transition period, Taukobong will continue to have oversight of the Telkom consumer business, while a recruitment process for his successor starts immediately, Telkom said. 

On July 23rd, 2021, Sipho Maseko announced he will be stepping down as CEO of Telkom after nine years in the job.

Maseko, who joined Telkom on 1 April 2013, is credited with turning around the company’s fortunes. At the time, Telkom was in dire straits.

The share price has more than tripled on his watch as he set about restructuring and streamlining the organization to better compete in a liberalized telecoms market.

In a statement, Maseko said: “I feel now is the right time for me to step aside and make way for a new leader who will take Telkom to even greater heights. I am most thankful to my colleagues across our country, for trusting me to lead Telkom, and for supporting me throughout this journey of transition.”

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