Econet Appoints Former Vodafone Executive to Run Its Neotel Unit

  • Kyle Whitehill to oversee expansion of network in South Africa
  • Econet unit Liquid Telecom bought Neotel for $428 million

Econet Wireless Global Ltd. unit Liquid Telecom has appointed former Vodafone Group Plc executive Kyle Whitehill to head up South African internet provider Neotel and oversee the company’s expansion plans.

Whitehill was previously CEO of Vodafone Qatar and Vodafone Ghana and will replace interim head Nic Rudnick at Neotel, which Liquid acquired for 6.55 billion rand ($508 million) from India’s Tata Communications Ltd. last year.

Neotel’s plans to boost market share and add services under new ownership makes it a good time to join the Johannesburg-based company, Whitehill said in an emailed response to questions. “Neotel will for the first time become a truly pan-African player with access to an extensive network footprint across the continent, giving us a stronger competitive edge in South Africa and beyond,” he said.

Whitehill will oversee plans to upgrade Neotel’s network, enabling more customers to access high-speed, reliable connectivity across South Africa, the company said.

Liquid completed the purchase of Neotel in December and is now considering a sale of shares on a stock market. The deal gave Econet Wireless the ability to supply broadband to South African businesses and homes as well as 50,000 kilometers (31,000 miles) of cross-border fiber networks. Econet, founded and run by Strive Masiyiwa, controls Liquid Telecom and mobile-phone company Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Ltd.

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