Who is Sylvia Wairimu Mulinge Replacing Wim Vanhelleputte as Chief Executive Officer MTN Uganda Limited?

Kampala: MTN Uganda Limited has Thursday revealed that Mr. Wim Vanhelleputte will cease to be the Chief Executive Officer of the Company effective July 31, 2022, following the end of his tenure.

Vanhelleputte has been replaced with Sylvia Wairimu Mulinge, a Kenyan businesswoman and corporate executive who serves as Director of Special Projects at Safaricom, Kenya.

Sylvia Mulinge,the New MTN Uganda CEO

During his six (6) years of service, Mr. Vanhelleputte successfully delivered the renewal of MTN’s NTO License, the separation of the mobile financial services business from the telco business and the initial public offer and listing of the Company on the Uganda Securities Exchange.

Mr. Vanhelleputte has been promoted to a regional role as Operating Executive for the WECA Markets of Liberia, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, and Congo-Brazzaville within the MTN Group effective August 1, 2022.

Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr. Charles Mbire in a statement said “The Board is grateful to Mr. Vanhelleputte for his outstanding service over the years and contribution to the Company’s growth during that period. We wish him the best in his new role.”

The Board announced the appointment of Ms. Sylvia Wairimu Mulinge as Chief Executive Officer effective October 1, 2022. Ms. Mulinge joins MTN from Safaricom Plc where she currently is Chief Consumer Business Officer.

In this role, she is responsible for driving the consumer telecoms business, managing the overall brand, and leading the transformation of Safaricom to become a digital lifestyle enabler of consumers’ lives.

Ms. Mulinge joined Safaricom in 2007 and has occupied various senior roles over the years, including Head of Retail, Head of Sales, and Director of Consumer Business. She is a graduate of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree (first-class honours).

Wim Vanhelleputte, Outgoing MTN Uganda CEO

“I would like to welcome Sylvia Mulinge to MTN Uganda. I believe that her experience will be beneficial to MTN, particularly given her alignment to our strategic intent of leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress. The Board is confident that Ms. Mulinge will continue the work of growing the Company as a leading provider of telecommunications and digital solutions.” Mbire noted.

In the interim, the current Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Andrew Bugembe, has been appointed as Acting Chief Executive Officer effective August 1, 2022, until September 30, 2022.

She was born in Kenya and attended St. Xaviers Primary School (1983-1990) in the town of Nakuru, and Mary Mount Secondary School (1991-1994) for her elementary and secondary education. She studied at the University of Nairobi, graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Technology.

She began her career in August 2004, at Unilever, the European consumer products conglomerate, working as the Assistant Regional Brand Manager in the laundry division, based in Durban, South Africa. After nine months in South Africa, she was transferred to Kenya, as the brand manager for Sunlight, a Unilever brand. She worked there for another nine months, from May 2005 until January 2006, based in Nairobi.

In February 2006 she was hired by Safaricom Limited as the manager responsible for the company’s pre-pay product, working in that capacity until November 2007, when she was promoted to the rank of Head of Retail, in which position she served until August 2009.

For the 21 months, from August 2009 until April 2011, she worked as the Head of Safaricom Business, responsible for sales. In May 2011, she was promoted to General Manager for Enterprise Business, working in that capacity for the next four years. In May 2015, she was promoted to the position of Director of Consumer Business at Safaricom. At Safaricom, she rose through the ranks to become a member of the senior management team at the company.

In 2014, Sylvia Wairimu Mulinge was named among the “Top 40 Women under 40 in Kenya 2014” by Business Daily Africa, a daily business newspaper published by the Nation Media Group.

In April 2018, Sylvia Mulinge was named the chief executive officer-designate at Vodacom Tanzania, replacing Ian Ferrao. The position is based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The appointment was effective 1 June 2018.

In September 2018, Vodacom Tanzania enounced that the Tanzanian authorities had declined to issue Sylvia Mulinge with a working permit. The company said at the time that it would seek another individual for the position. Effective 1 October 2018 she was reassigned as the director of special projects at Safaricom, reporting directly to the company CEO.

MTN has a presence in all 134 districts of Uganda. Services are delivered through a network of over 120,000 Mobile Money agents, 200 service stores and 13 main distributors. At end of Quarter 1 2022, MTN Uganda had 15.9 million subscribers, 9.5 million MoMo users and 5.4 million active data users.

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