Concern mounts over shape of the post-Belo Osagie era
By Anthony Opara
Following the reported resignation of the chairman and board members of the embattled telecommunications giant, Etisalat Nigeria Plc, the management and staff of the company are presently waiting with bated breath for the outcome of ongoing discussions to agree on a new board and management structure for the firm.
This is coming after news made the rounds that Etisalat Chairman, Keem Belo-Osagie had finally bowed in to accumulated pressure and accepted to join other board members who had earlier turned in their own letters of resignation.
It will be recalled that Etisalat has been in the eye of the storm for weeks now, following its failure to payup on a $1.2billion loan facility it had received from a consortium of banks.
And there are speculations that one of the principal actors in the ongoing talks and who would play a critical role in the composition of the new board and management structure would be the MD/CEO of Access Bank, Mr Herbert Wigwe, whose bank is said to be one of the champions of the ongoing stakeholder-induced take-over process.
Even as the wait for the new structure continues, feelers are that staff of Etisalat are particularly troubled over the prospect of a looming widespread downsizing exercise, following the resumption of the new board and management at the company. This is fuelled by the ongoing trend in the industry that has seen MTN and even Etisalat before now laying off a sizeable number of their staff in a bid to stave off further economic losses.
Attempts to confirm if reported hints that the duo of the South African telecoms player, Vodacom and the French originating behemoth which presently operates in over a third of the nations of Africa, Orange, may already be in talks to step into the emergent void could not be confirmed as at press time.
Access Bank CEO, Mr. Herbert Wigwe