Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
NETONE Cellular board chairman James Mutizwa says the company is pleased that a solution regarding the status of chief executive officer, Lazarus Muchenje, has been found, and is expecting him to continue the turnaround efforts that saw the parastatal recording its first month-on-month profit during his reign.
Mr Muchenje, who was suspended in August last year for alleged “gross misconduct” relating to how he handled expired contracts for nine senior managers, has since bounced back at the State-owned enterprise.
Mr Mutizwa told The Herald Business on Wednesday that they are now hoping that the conclusion of Mr Muchenje’s issue brings smiles to the company, and are now hoping that he will continue to steer the company to profitability.
“We are delighted at NetOne to have brought closure to the CEO matter that had subsisted over the past seven months.
“The expectation from the board is that NetOne will continue with its positive trajectory and should provide a return to the shareholder,” said Mr Mutizwa
The decision to bring him back was made by the recently appointed five-member board. It is unclear what the board considered before settling on bringing back Mr Muchenje. Apart from prominent lawyer Mr Mutizwa, the new NetOne board also consists of Miss Susan Muchaneta Mutangadura, the deputy chairperson; Mr Winston Makamure; Mr Mathias Rangarirai Mavhunga and Mr Paradzai Mutandwa Chakona.
Mr Muchenje is famed for dragging NetOne out of the mud in 2018, turning it into a loss-making enterprise. NetOne declared its first month-on-month profit last year.
The business recorded a loss of $57,8 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, which was largely attributed to legacy issues that weighed down the company’s performance. NetOne is yet to release its financial results for the year 2018.
After assuming leadership of NetOne last year, Mr Muchenje started an aggressive approach to increase revenue through a network expansion drive and cost containment measures.
The actions resulted in NetOne’s mobile financial arm, OneMoney, increasing its active subscriber base, backed by increased network coverage throughout the country.
In line with its mission that speaks to transforming lives and developing communities through communication solutions, NetOne commissioned several base stations in previously marginalised areas and embarked on aggressive corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Mr Muchenje, seen by technology experts as a turnaround strategist, is famed for dragging NetOne out of the woods in 2018.
He transformed the enterprise from being a loss-making firm to a profitable after declaring its first month-on-month profit during the year.
He is a chartered accountant by profession who has previously held the positions of group CEO at Intarget Group, FirstRand Bank Celpay International BV; executive head of sales (Vodacom SA); head of wireless application, sales and marketing director (Vodacom DRC) and founding finance director (Vodacom DRC).