TNM plc chief executive officer (CEO) Douglas Craigie Stevenson has joined South African mobile phone operator Cell C as chief operations officer (COO), a development that has taken his Malawian employers by surprise.
TNM plc has since appointed Eric Valentine as acting CEO, according to a statement signed by board chairperson George Partridge last evening.
In an announcement published on its website, Cell C said Stevenson’s appointment was effective September 26 2017.
Partridge, who is group CEO for conglomerate Press Corporation Limited (PCL), on Tuesday evening expressed surprise at Stevenson’s new appointment, saying his contract was still running with the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed integrated information and communications technology (ICT) and mobile phone network operator.
However, yesterday, he said in a statement: “The board of directors of Telekom Networks Malawi Plc wishes to inform all stakeholders that Douglas Stevenson is no longer employed as chief executive officer…
“TNM will shortly make an announcement concerning appointment of a substantive chief executive officer.”
In the statement on Stevenson’s appointment, Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos described him as a distinguished executive with pivotal role in business.
He said: “Douglas has played a pivotal role in all the businesses he has worked in before and I am confident his vast experience in this sector will stand him in good stead at Cell C. We are pleased to welcome such a distinguished executive to our ranks.”
The statement also quotes Stevenson as having said: “Cell C is an extremely dynamic business and I look forward to putting my skills to work at a company that has been at the forefront of innovation for the past couple of years.”
During Tuesday’s interview, Partridge said he was shocked with the news, but dismissed suggestions that the TNM Plc CEO was out of the limelight.
He said: “I know that Douglas’ contract is still persisting with TNM as I am talking to you now. I know he is on leave now because I did sign for his leave. The assertion that he just disappeared is surprising to me.
“He [Stevenson] has not informed me yet that he has found another job elsewhere and is leaving TNM. May be he will do that now if what you are telling me is true.”
Partridge said it was possible Stevenson could have used his leave days to seek opportunities elsewhere before the expiry of his tour of duty at TNM.
However, he said TNM, as a listed company, would be transparent to its shareholders on the next course of action.
Stevenson, who joined TNM Plc in October 2015, has recently been outboard, with sources indicating that he was sent on an administrative leave. His contract was expected to end in September 2018.
Stevenson is an accomplished telecommunications executive with more than 20 years experience in the sector, having served in various senior positions in South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania and Mozambique, among other African countries. n