From One Telco To The Other – What To Know About MTN’s New Chief Digital And Fintech Officer

By  |  July 18, 2019

The MTN Group announced yesterday that it had appointed Yolanda Zoleka Cuba as its Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer. She joins the Group’s Executive Committee reporting to the CEO Rob Shuter and will lead MTN’s strategic expansion of its financial services, digital solutions, and transformation into a digital operator.

Yolanda, a South African, is not actually treading on strange grounds. Before joining the telecom giant, she served as the Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana and is a board member of five other companies.

The initial stages of her career which began after she obtained a University of Cape Town Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics and Accounting, was with Robertson Foods (as from 1999). 

An alumnus of the global business school INSEAD’s International Executive Program, she joined the corporate finance division of Mvelaphanda in 2003. Due to her reported diligent work, she climbed through several ranks until she was named the Deputy CEO in the same year of appointment. Yolanda has also served as the CEO and Executive Director at New Bond Capital Ltd, and Executive Director at SABMiller South Africa Ltd.

She, who is in her 30s, has also served as Director at Batho Bonke Capital Pty Ltd and Total Facilities Management. Before she was appointed as the Chief Officer of Strategy and New Business at Vodacom, she was the CEO of Vodafone Ghana, a position she occupied for about three years. This landed her the Telecom CEO of the Year award last year. 

In 2008, Yolanda was selected as one of the Young Global Leaders in a scheme organized by the World Economic Forum. She was also named one of the 20 Youngest Powerful Women in Africa by Forbes Magazine in 2011. Till date, she still acts as Independent Non-Executive Director of Barclays Africa Group Limited. 

If we sum up all of Yolanda’s stints, it would be effortless to see why MTN decided to have her on board in a leadership capacity. Aside from her around-20 years of experience on the trail of a busy work history, she brings along her vast knowledge of telecommunications and leadership knowhow to MTN.

“I am generally a hands-on individual, eager to learn new things; technology savvy and very technical in orientation. My philosophy in life revolves around learning and being keen to experience new things. My motivation comes from knowing that there’s nothing I cannot achieve if I put my mind to it,” Cuba told The Times Of Africa in a 2017 interview. 

Concerning the new role, she said the role allows her to drive digital innovation and financial inclusion across the Group’s vast footprint. “I’m really looking forward to the new challenge and being part of the MTN leadership team,” she added. 

Rob Shuter said, “We are very pleased to bring an executive of Yolanda’s caliber into MTN Group. Yolanda is a highly qualified and experienced executive, with a unique combination of operational telecommunications experience as well as finance, financial services, and digital skills.

I am confident that Yolanda’s leadership will place us in good stead as we intensify our efforts to build a digital ecosystem and scale our fintech offering across our markets”.

An official statement says: “Under Yolanda’s leadership, MTN will continue to progressively grow the fintech and digital opportunities in Africa as we see these areas as major drivers of our BRIGHT growth strategy. Yolanda’s start date will be communicated in due course”.

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