Vodafone Ghana CEO to leave in weeks

Reliable information reaching Adom Business indicates that Vodafone Ghana CEO, Kyle Whitehill and some of his senior team are due to leave the company in the next few weeks.

Sources from London told Adom Business that sources close to the company confirmed that Whitehill, who was recognized last year as the Best Telecom CEO in the country by Mobile World Magazine, will be moving to another Vodafone office either in India or the Middle East.

The source said “The Chief Marketing Officer, Uche Ofodile will definitely be following Kyle out.”

It said there are speculations Head of Brand Marketing & Communications, Carmen Bruce-Annan is also likely to branch out on her own and offer her services to other companies. But that is unconfirmed.

Another reliable source at Vodafone Ghana confirmed to Adom Business directly that Whitehill and Ofodile are indeed leaving and the company is planning to announce it officially in May 2013.

The source said top management persons at Vodafone are usually on four-year contracts and they either leave or are retained when the contract ends.

In his three years as CEO of Vodafone Ghana, Kyle Whitehill has led the campaign to modernize the operations of the company.

He has been instrumental in reducing the huge expenditure by Vodafone Ghana on European expatriates, choosing instead to focus on recruiting local talent and also Ghanaians in the Diaspora.

Under Kyle Whitehill, Vodafone Ghana at one point was the biggest employer of “returnee” Ghanaians from the UK.

He would also be remembered for giving women the opportunity to rise to the top of the ladder at Vodafone. He kept a management with six women and three men, himself included.

Whitehill would be remembered for moving Vodafone into second place behind MTN, making it the second largest Telco by number of subscribers in Ghana.

He succeeded David Venn, and inherited a company with a subscriber base of about 2million and has grown it by more than 150% to over 5million.

Whitehill undertook a vigorous redundancy policy that saw the staff of Vodafone reducing from over 4,500 to 1,400, but the result has been the reverse of 26 years of non-profitability to a productive company.

It was under Whitehill that Vodafone deployed some of the world class technologies for both the mobile and fixed line operations, and a dynamic broadband wholesale business, Vodafone Wholesale.

Whitehill led a Vodafone that topped the broadband speeds charts in Ghana, and propelled Ghana to the top of the charts in Africa for two consecutive years.

Pundits have described Whitehill as an ‘aggressive goal getter’, but Whitehill said he is just passionate, and his passion yielded results that won Vodafone six laurels at last year’s Mobile World Ghana Telecom Awards, including the CEO of the Year and Telecoms Brand of the Year.

The company also won other prestigious awards both in Ghana and abroad, for both services and CSR (corporate social responsibility) under Whitehill.

But not everyone would remember Whitehill for the good reasons. Some Vodafone fixed broadband (fbb) customers, and some local internet service providers (ISPs) would remember him for their woes, particularly for playing referee and player, and for introducing a cap on fbb access.

Whitehill was known for saying it as it is. He was the first to disclose that only one telco makes profit after tax in Ghana, and also the first to say some telcos would eventually not survive the heat of multiple taxes and stiff competition, and would be compelled to merge or fold up. Whitehill was also the first to say Ghana did not need a sixth operator.

Whether his replacement will be able to continue his achievements and work effectively with the team he raised remains to be seen.

The question on people’s minds is whether Vodafone Ghana will choose a Ghanaian replacement for Kyle Whitehill, or another expatriate would come in.