Zimbabwean to head up Telecel
- Published on 28 June 2012
Telecel Zimbabwe has revealed that it will appoint a local to take over from Swiss-born John Swaim to head up the telco.
The company is one of three mobile operators in Zimbabwe, and currently has 1.8 million active subscribers, making it the second biggest Telco in the country. Telecel Zimbabwe is owned by Orascom Telecom Holdings, and has, in the past few months, introduced an airtime credit purchase facility and tele-tunes for its subscribers.
Telecel has mostly been led by foreigners, and sources say the government has pressurised the company to appoint locals to senior positions in the firm. Swaim was appointed chief executive officer in April last year and succeeded Aimable Mpore, a Rwandese national.
“Tensions have been simmering with the government pressuring the operator to appoint a local head and it appears they have finally given in,” said a source who refused to be named.
The company has however defended the appointment of foreigners into senior executive positions.
“The expatriates all have specialist skills from the group’s other operations and they come on fixed term contracts and on defined missions while they impart skills on the locals,” said Swaim, chief executive officer of the company.
He however confirmed that Telecel Zimbabwe was due to “appoint a successor” to the position of chief executive “following an exhaustive executive search”.
The company has also been sucked into a row with other local employees who – according to sources – are arguing that the foreign executives are highly remunerated as compared to local executives.
Swaim refused to comment on this, saying: “Remuneration is a confidential matter between the employer and each employee and therefore it is not an issue that I can discuss in the press.”
Telecel has said that it plans to invest about $70 million to expand and upgrade its networks while it is also expecting to grow its subscriber base to above 2. 5 million network users by the end of 2012.