Ismael Yasmin eulogized outgoing CEO of MTN

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Selorm Adadevoh Chief Executive Officer Updating Shareholders And Investors During Mtn S Half Year Results Announcement
Selorm Adadevoh Chief Executive Officer Updating Shareholders And Investors During Mtn's Half Year Results Announcement

The Board Chairman of Scancom PLC (MTN Ghana, Ishmael Yamson spent about 10 minutes eulogizing the outgoing CEO of MTN Ghana, Selorm Adadevoh at his final send off party, held at the plush Labadi Beach Hotel on Friday, March 22, 2024.

Selorm is leaving the MTN Ghana top job to become MTN Group’s Chief Commercial Officer beginning April 1, 2024.

Amidst repeated thunderous applause and cheers, the board chair said, ”This guy called Selorm has done a great job at MTN Ghana…I have seen at least six CEOs at MTN Ghana and I can say that Selorm is exceptional.”

Selorm Adadevoh joined MTN Ghana in 2018 as the first outsider to have taken the company’s top job. All his predecessors, including Ghana’s own Ebenezer Twum Asante were already with the MTN family before becoming CEO of MTN Ghana. Selorm was drafted from Digicel in Haiti.

But Selorm ended up making history as the longest-serving MTN Ghana CEO, having held the top job for almost six years through some of the most turbulent periods in the life of the company – from unusually high customer demands during Covid, through major regulatory hurdles such as SMP declaration, SIM re-registration and back tax assessment, all the way to the recent undersea cable disruption and its impact on MTN’s services.

He also saw MTN through a successful IPO, after which MTN shares has remained the most valuable commodity on the Ghana Stock Exchange for years; a successful launch of the over-subscribed TurboNet plus more.

In all these, Selorm, who has been fondly described as “The Transformer”, left a record of having clocked eight times the revenue he inherited, 12 times the profits and also paid up to 18 times the taxes paid in the year before he took over. He also added about nine million more customers in just five years, even after SIM re-registration had robbed MTN of 4.8 million subscriptions.

On the basis of these and many other achievements of Selorm, the board chairman Ishmael Yamson described Selorm as a serial over achiever who always does more than he sets out to do.

According to him, any time Selorm set targets for himself, the board got worried about whether he was going to be able to achieve them, but repeatedly, Selorm out-performed himself.

He particularly mentioned Selorm’s enduring calmness, no matter what crisis the company was facing, saying that, for instance, when the undersea cables were cut recently Selorm was very calm about it while everyone else, including even the board were panicking.

”He called me and said he was about to tell me something but I should not panic and I asked him if he was not worried and he said no. Then I asked him when did he think the problem will be solved and he said ‘l don’t know’ – he said all these with a very calm tone.”

Indeed, it took MTN Ghana days to get out of the woods, but eventually, Selorm reported to shareholders that the company had secured 100% of the lost capacity from other sources, while waiting for the damaged cables to be repaired and provide redundancy against the future.

Ishmael Yamson said initially when Selorm was drafted from Digicel in Haiti to MTN Ghana, he was worried because of what he knew about attitudes to work in Haiti. But over the years, Selorm has proven over and again that he is determined to achieve excellence no matter the circumstance and he has done just that.

”I am very sad to lose him. If I had my way I will seize his passport and stop him from going. But who am I to stop him. Life is about progress, so if he has done such a great job in Ghana and he has been given a greater responsibility at the group level, I am the first to tell him take the job and make us proud.

”Ghana should be proud of Selorm and Eben who are the two Ghanaians in the MTN Group top executive. I am particularly proud of both of them because I played a role in each of their careers,” he said.

Ishmael Yamson urged Selorm to do 10 times more at the new job than he did at MTN Ghana, adding however that, knowing who Selorm is, he believes he will set a target to do 10 times more, but will actually do way more than that.

Dr. Ken Ashigbey, Chief Executive of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications (GCT), of which Selorm was both Chair and Vice Chair during his tenure lauded him for his immense contribution to the chamber’s work and to the entire telecoms industry in Ghana.

He mentioned that Selorm played a pivotal role in navigating crises such as network outages and fibre cuts, demonstrating his exceptional leadership and problem-solving skills.

“Selorm has left an indelible mark on the history of the chamber. His leadership and collaborative spirit has contributed significantly to advancing the telecommunications industry inGhana,” he said.

Selorm’s send off party was attended by the crème de la crème of the industry including regulators, fintech leaders, corporates leaders, top journalists, top vendors of MTN and even CEO’s of MTN’s competitors.

Some of the highlights of the event was when Labadi Beach Hotel presented a special cake to Selorm, a poet and artist delivered a combined spoken word and visual art performance that culminated in a live drawing of the exact image of Selorm at the event, and an excellent rendition of jokes buy Ghana’s top comedian, OB Amponsah.

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