Ferdi Moolman — The sagacious CEO managing industry leader, MTN Nigeria

Ferdi Moolman is the CEO of MTN Nigeria, a leading telecommunication operator in the country.

The Manager has been with MTN since 2001 but has had two intermittent stays with the Nigerian divide of the company. In 2001 he came in as chief financial officer of the MTN Nigeria. The South African became the CEO of the telecom firm at a time happenings within the firm were quite murky. Banking on his good repute, the seasoned executive was brought in to manage the adversing situation. Has he delivered on the confidence reposed in him?

MTN started operation in Nigeria after a bill seeking the deregulation of the Nigerian telecom sector was effected. Before then, all telecommunication rights were conferred solely on the government’s Nigerian telecommunication limited (NITEL). The new bill made for the establishment of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) (decree 75 of 1992).

This meant that with the advent of the NCC, competition and private sector participation, as well as general overview of the sector became realizable. MTN Nigeria was a leading operator right from onset, however, Econet (now Airtel) is recorded to be the first telecommunication service to launch its services in Nigeria on August 8, 2001. MTN Nigeria also began it’s operation that same month, although a little while after Airtel’s launch. Both telcos were given renewable GSM licenses which spanned a 5-year period.

To offset the communication lapses witnessed across the country, as well as the dismal failure of NITEL and other government-engineered establishments, the two new telcos were given specific targets to complete. Some of these were a directive to garner a minimum of 100,000 subscribers each in the beginning year of operations, 1.5 million subscribers in the next five years, and a minimum of 5% geographical coverage within each of the country’s geopolitical states. Both telecom networks recorded excellent growth, leading to renewed licenses being issued them including issuance of new ones to emerging telecom operators.

MTN currently leads the Nigerian telecom space with about 72 million subscribers representing about 37% of the total numbers of the country’s mobile network subscribers. The telecom operator deservedly leads the pack, as it supposedly possess the best broadband infrastructure in the country. The firm is managed by Ferdi Moolman, the administrator which we review below:

Ferdi Moolman – The Profile

Ferdi Moolman

Full nameFerdinand Moolman
Date of birth17 August 1964
NationalitySouth African
  • University of PretoriaAccounting Science • (1982 – 1987)
  • University of South AfricaCommerce • (1987 – 1990)
  • MTN Nigeria Communication LtdGeneral Manager Financial Operations; Consultant • (2003 – 2007)
  • MTN IrancellChief Financial Officer; Chief Operating Officer • (2007 – 2014)
  • MTN Nigeria Communication LtdChief Executive Officer • (2015 – present)
Income1,757,750 ZAR (About N37,600,502.17)

Ferdi Moolman — The Beginning

Moolman has maintained an enviable level of anonymity in all his activities, pertaining both to his career and personal life. This is indicative in his concealed personal information.

This fortunately doesn’t mean he could conceal every of his privies.

He is a citizen of South Africa, presumably from Pretoria, South Africa. As at the time of writing, the manager is just 55 years of age. That is all that could be hatched about the renowned administrator’s personal beginning.

Education & Career

From 1982 till 1987, Moolman studied accounting science at the University of Pretoria. And from 1987 to 1990, he studied Commerce at the University of South Africa. Those were the stepping-stone for an impending blissful career.

Moolman’s known career course started with firms like the PricewaterhouseCoopers, Europ Assistance and Super Group. However his major career began with MTN Nigeria Communication Ltd in 2003 as consultant. He went on to be the general manager financial operations of the company. This came into cessation in 2007, however, he continued at MTN Irancell as chief financial officer, and chief operating officer in 2009. MTN Irancell is a leading telecom company in Iran and a subsidiary of the MTN group. MTN Group holds a 49% percent stake in MTN Irancell, while the Iran Electronic Development Company holds the other 51% of the company’s shares.

In 2014, the seasoned manager was moved to the Nigerian unit of the conglomerate as chief financial officer. A shake-up that followed helped transpose Moolman to the position of Chief Executive Officer in 2015. The counts of resignations had resulted due to disagreements by the firm’s then management with the government about revenue relocation and subsequent fines imposed on it due to infractions.

MTN’s SIM registration penalty

The federal government in 2010 had mandated that mobile network operators in the country should effect the disconnection of all unregistered SIM-cards. This was aimed at reducing or possibly halting the rate of security challenges across the country, as criminals resorted to the use of mobile phones to perfect their crimes. The Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations (TSR) 2011 enactment, had it that any operator is liable to a penalty of N200,000.00 for each unregistered but activated subscription medium, if it activate or fails to deactivate the subscription medium.

MTN sim registration fine

A purported compliance audit carried out by NCC and securities agencies on all operators uncovered that 5.2 million MTN subscribers were improperly registered. Although all other operators had fully complied and deactivated the affected subscriber lines, MTN only made shady disconnections despite ‘repeated warnings’. The NCC subsequently announced a $1000 fine for each of the 5.2 million unregistered lines — amounting to $5.2 billion tally!

Then chief executive officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, the Head of Nigeria Operation, Micheal Ikpoki and the Head of Cooperate Affairs, Akinwale Goodluck tendered their respective resignations and were replaced with Phuthuma Nhleko, Ferdi Moolman and Amina Oyegbola as new chairman, managing director and Head of Corporate and Regulation respectively.

With Ferdinand Moolman as Manager, a diplomatic meeting between president Jacob Zuma of South African and
Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria was actualized. This resulted in the reduction of the fine from $5.2bn to $3.2bn. This fine was subsequently challenged by the telecom operator in court, with considerations budded for an out-of-court settlements. The court case was later withdrawn in March 2016.

After several negotiations (out of court), a total sum of $1.7 billion was agreed by both the Nigerian government and the MTN group as the final amount to be paid by the latter as fine. The fine was to be paid in tranches, and the last tranche was slated to be paid on 31 May 2019.

Stock Exchange Listing

One of the few promises made by Ferdi Moolman’s managed MTN Nigeria during the $5.2bn out of court settlement was a possible listing of its shares in the Nigerian stock exchange.

This wasn’t to be effected in a flurry, as a renewed legal embroilment with the government began. The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, indicted the South African firm of illegally repatriating about $8.1 billion as dividend to its shareholders. This led to a $53 million out of court payment by the telecom firm.

After series of other delays, MTN Nigeria actualized it’s conversion from a private company to a public one on 16 may 2019 by listing 20.35 billion of its shares in the stock exchange.

Ferdi Moolman’s wife, relationship, and children

Ferdinand’s marital information is not known, however, he is hinted to be a divorcee. His erstwhile wife, details of the severance, and the details of possible childrens are yet to be unravelled. His earlier or current relationship facts, if any, is also raveled from the public.

Ferdi Moolman Income

Based on leaks from Reuters, Ferdi Moolman earns as much as 21,093,000 ZAR per annum working for MTN. When converted to the Nigerian currency, this amounts to about N445m.

Ferdi Moolman networth

His monthly compensation is calculated to be in the proximity of N37m!

Awards and achievements

MTN Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, was honoured in 2019 as the ‘HR Champion’ at the HR People Magazine Awards 2019.

The company, MTN Nigeria came out finalist in both the ‘Employer of Choice’ and ‘Best Employee Engagement’ categories.

Aside personal attainments, the manager while managing the telecom giant recently recorded additional 4.2 million mobile subscribers in the first quarter of 2020. It’s service revenue also improved 16.7 per cent to N328.5 billion in the period.

In a report, the company says it has 68.5 million telephone customers while active data users went up by 1.7 million to 26.8 million.

Managing the biggest non-oil foreign direct investment to Nigeria through it’s thins brings to light Moolman’s managerial artfulness in the administration of funds and crises. During his care, MTN Nigeria has undoubtedly achieved record growth in terms of broadband reach and finances despite severe competitions.

Ferdi Moolman hopes to enliven the lives of his customers each day in a goal registry brooded by him and his team every day.


A potential electrical/electronics engineer in the making, a phone addict and a motivating partner.While he's not researching through with his phone, Daniel spends his time with the books.★ Fav. quote: The habit of persistence is the habit of victory! ★

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