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Ex-Openserve boss Alphonzo Samuels quits Telkom board

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Former Openserve CEO Alphonzo Samuels.
Former Openserve CEO Alphonzo Samuels.

Alphonzo Samuels, former Openserve CEO, has resigned from the Telkom board as non-executive director, for personal reasons.

Samuels joined the Telkom board in January this year, and the telephony group announced yesterday in a notice to shareholders that he has resigned.

The seasoned executive has more than 35 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry, and before his appointment to the Telkom board, he was at the helm of Telkom’s technology and Openserve leadership team for six years, until he retired on 31 March 2020.

Telkom also announced the appointment of Olufunke Ighodaro and Ethel Matenge-Sebesho as independent non-executive directors, from 1 July 2021.

“Ms Olufunke Ighodaro (Funke) is a commercially astute and experienced business leader who has served on the boards of several private and publicly-listed companies, bringing diverse and extensive leadership experience and expertise in a large number of business disciplines, but specifically in finance, business strategy, governance and risk management,” reads a Telkom notice to shareholders.

Ighodaro holds a BSc (Honours) degree from Salford University, is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and accredited as a chartered accountant with SAICA. She is also a former CFO of Tiger Brands, Primedia, and an executive director of Barloworld and 9mobile, Nigeria's fourth-largest telco.

Telkom says she also founded and led the private equity business of Kagiso Trust Investment Group and is a non-executive director of Massmart, Old Mutual and Old Mutual Life Assurance (South Africa), Ascential and Sabvest.

Previously, Ighodaro was a non-executive director of Datatec and Transaction Capital.

For Matenge-Sebesho, Telkom says she has more than 40 years’ experience leading organisations, specifically within the housing and banking industries.

“She was responsible for driving and establishing new markets to facilitate access to housing finance in the low to medium income market, for several African countries. This involved engaging with mortgage lenders, banking regulators, short-term insurers and insurance regulators, and reputable housing and infrastructure developers.”

Matenge-Sebesho holds an MBA and an Associate Diploma in Banking SA, and Telkom says she has succeeded in establishing business operations in Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Botswana, Namibia and Nigeria.

“By establishing business in all these countries, Ethel has extensive and useful contacts and networks abroad and in most African countries. She held various positions within Standard Chartered Bank and was responsible for management of the bank's personal banking and marketing activities, as well as the restructuring of all the bank’s departments and implementation of new processes,” Telkom says.

Matenge-Sebesho also sits on the FNB advisory board, Distell Group Holdings, Ashburton Investments and Sinmark Trust, and was previously a non-executive director of FirstRand and Capevin Holdings.

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