MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati jumps ship, to take over at Altron; Venter to step down

By Gareth van Zyl

Johannesburg – Current MTN South Africa chief executive and former Microsoft managing director, Mteto Nyati, is joining technology group Altron as its new CEO.

MTN South Africa CEO Mteto Nyati

JSE-listed Altron made the announcement on Tuesday, days after its renowned founder, Dr Bill Venter, stepped down as the company’s non-executive chair at the end of February.

The appointment of Nyati comes as the Venter family has agreed to collapse its control structure amid a recent R400m capital investment from Value Capital Partners Proprietary (VCP).

Nyati, meanwhile, is a veteran of the local ICT landscape. He joined MTN as group chief enterprise officer in October 2014 and eventually became MTN SA CEO.

Prior to MTN, he was Microsoft South Africa’s managing director for a number of years.

Nyati holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He also studied at Yale University.

“Nyati will assume responsibility as Altron Chief Executive no later than 1 July 2017,” said Altron in a statement.

The company further said that current Altron CEO Robbie Venter, who has been with the group for 27 years, will step down in due course.

“He [Robbie Venter] will remain on the Altron Board as a non-executive director to continue to provide his wealth of knowledge and experience to the group,” said Altron.

An employee prepares a Samsung Electronics Co. smartphone for a customer inside an MTN Group Ltd. phone store in Cape Town, South Africa. Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Mike Leeming, chairman of the Altron Board, praised Venter for his contribution and said the appointment of Nyati followed a “rigorous recruitment process”.

“The Altron Board embarked on a global search for a suitable candidate with the necessary global leadership experience and business orientation with a solid track record in the ICT sector,” said Leeming.

“Mteto has in-depth blue chip technology experience having been at IBM for twelve years and six years at Microsoft prior to joining MTN in October 2014. He has extensive experience in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets. We are extremely pleased to have him on board and are confident that he, the board and Robbie will work well together during the handover phase,” said Leeming.