South African Mobile Veteran Knott-Craig Suffers Stroke

Alan Knott-Craig, a veteran of South Africa’s telecommunications industry, has suffered a stroke while at the helm of Cell C Pty Ltd., the nation’s third-largest wireless carrier.

He had “a minor stroke,” Vinnie Santu, a spokeswoman for Cell C, said yesterday in a statement. “He is currently recovering in hospital and is responding well to treatment.”

Knott-Craig, 61, was the founding chief executive officer of Vodacom Group Ltd. (VOD) in 1993. Cell C Chief Commercial Officer Jose Dos Santos will act as CEO until Knott-Craig returns to work, according to the statement.

Vodacom expanded into countries such as Mozambique and Tanzania under Knott-Craig’s leadership and gained 34 million subscribers before his departure in 2008. He became CEO of Cell C in 2012 with the goal of taking market share from Vodacom as well as its largest competitor MTN Group Ltd. (MTN)

Knott-Craig is fighting Vodacom and MTN to reduce the price that Cell C pays to end calls on their networks. The fee, known as mobile termination rates, will be halved to 20 cents ($0.02) as of March 2014, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa regulator said last month. Vodacom and MTN are seeking a compromise on the rate cut.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Spillane in Johannesburg at cspillane3@bloomberg.net

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