Tower People: June 2013

A reshuffle at MTN and an interesting new appointment at SBA Communications

Gunter Engling appointed Head of Passive Infrastructure at MTN

Gunter Engling has assumed a new role at MTN, overseeing tower portfolios after sale to towerco partners. Gunter’s role is primarily one of implementation, taking over after the M&A team completes a transaction, liasing with the towerco partner, and looking after MTN’s interests as anchor tenants.

Gunter previously served as CFO of MTN Ghana during the formation of MTN’s joint venture towerco with American Tower.

Shuenyane passes the torch to Pienaar at MTN

Khumo Shuenyane, Group Chief Strategy Mergers and Acquisitions Officer, left MTN at the end of June after six years with Africa’s leading mobile network operator. Khumo was widely credited for driving MTN’s pioneering strategy to create value by divesting passive assets, releasing substantial capital, while retaining an equity stake in joint venture towercos with American Tower in Ghana and Uganda. Khumo was also at the helm for last year’s sale and leaseback deal with IHS in Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire, and further tower transactions are believed to be imminent.

Karel Pienaar, formerly CEO of MTN in South Africa, recently assumed the role of Group Chief Strategy Officer, which will include responsibility for MTN’s continuing tower strategy.

David Porte appointed VP International at SBA Communications

David Porte has joined SBA Communications as VP, International. David is a tower industry veteran, having in the past served as CTO and Head of Strategy at American Tower, later advising Crown Castle on DAS, before more recently serving as COO at Lightbridge Communications Corp.

SBA Communications operates around 15,000 towers in the United States. SBA also owns and operates towers in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. SBA have built over 45,000 towers under BTS arrangements.

David Porte will be representing SBA Communications on the towerco keynote panel session at the TowerXchange Meetup on October 1 and 2 in Johannesburg.

Douglas Lubbe now responsible for M&A and infrastructure negotiations at Vodacom International

Douglas Lubbe recently assumed the role of “Group Executive: International Business Development,” with a remit that includes M&A, infrastructure negotiations and some day to day management responsibilities across Vodacom’s non-SA businesses: DRC, Lesotho, Mozambique and Tanzania. Douglas has more than 10 years of experience in International operations for Vodacom, including as CFO of Vodacom Mozambique and as CFO of Vodacom International.

Douglas will be representing Vodacom on the operator keynote panel session at the TowerXchange Meetup on October 1 and 2 in Johannesburg.

Vodacom targeting three new African markets

CEO Shameel Joosub suggested Vodacom were seeking to enter three additional markets by the end of 2014. While he declined to name the countries, Joosub suggested each had populations over 10m, high GDP growth, low penetration and stable political situations.

In an interview after Vodacom’s year-end presentation Joosub stated “We’ve cracked the African model. Our formula is working. We’re a lot more confident today in terms of accessing new markets and pursuing those opportunities… we hope to be able to add some acquisitions this year.”

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