JOHANNESBURG  - Mobile phone company MTN said on Friday its chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, who was previously anticipated to step down from his position later this month, would now leave the board on December 15 after overseeing an orderly transition.

MTN said it had appointed former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as chairman-designate and he would assume the position on the same date.

In a statement, MTN said the company had experienced challenging regulatory environments and highly competitive trading conditions, but the board felt it had now entered a more stable and settled phase, enabling it to affect an evolution of the board over the next 12 months.

New board members will include former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Lamido Sanusi, who will join from July 1.

"We are confident that the incoming directors will bring a wealth of experience, diversity of skills and geographical regional experience to the board," MTN said.

The company said the board had resolved to establish an international advisory board (IAB) of prominent persons to counsel, guide and support the MTN group "from time to time in fulfilling its vision and objective of being one of the premier African corporations with a global footprint in telecommunications".

While the IAB would be non-statutory in nature and not have any fiduciary responsibility, it would play a valued role of guiding and assisting the board in achieving the company’s vision in a technically complex world with uncertain and shifting geopolitical interests, MTN said.

The IAB, which will commence on July 1, will be chaired by former South African president Thabo Mbeki and members will include former Ghanaian president John Kufuor, former African Union commissioner for political affairs Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohammed ElBaradei, president of marketing & services Total S.A. (France) Dr. Momar Nguer and Nhleko.

- African News Agency (ANA)