Etisalat: Hakeem Bello-Osagie forced to resign from board

*Over restructuring plan for the telecommunications firm

Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria Limited, Hakeem Bello-Osagie, has resigned his position following the approval of a restructuring plan for the telecommunications firm.

A statement obtained by this newspaper confirmed the development, saying the decision followed “the approval of a restructuring plan for the telecommunications firm.”

Mr. Bello-Osagie, the one-time Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), was the surviving shareholder in the embattled mobile operator currently embroiled in a $1.2 billion (about N377.4 billion) loan repayment crisis with a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks.

He was the promoter of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services (EMTS), which controlled 15 per cent of the equity holding of the company

His resignation followed the withdrawal, two weeks ago, of the company’s major shareholder, Emirates Telecommunications Group Company, which announced the decision to quit effective 15th June, 2017.

A source said, “Although the chairman had planned to leave immediately the banks made the take-over move, he opted to tarry until a road map for the company was finalised. The timing of the resignation was strategically delayed till now when stakeholders have agreed a plan and comes more than a week after Mubadala Development Company directors tendered their resignation.”

“The development also reflects Mr. Bello-Osagie’s deep commitment to protecting the interest of all stakeholders. It is now expected that Etisalat Nigeria under its new shareholding structure will navigate through its current loan repayment challenge with minimum impact.” “Over the last several months, the chairman has worked extensively with critical stakeholders to prepare clearly articulated strategies and robust road maps that will mitigate the impact of the new shareholding restructuring and realignment on the operations and management of the 4th largest telecoms player in Nigeria.” “With this development, the new board will assume control of Etisalat.

This is coming following interventions, which have been roundly applauded, from regulatory agencies, including the Nigeria Communications commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other stakeholders to ensure that the best decisions are taken in the interest of the subscribers, employees and the Nigerian economy.” The source conclude by saying that , “Further announcements on the composition of the new board are expected from the stakeholders.”

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