Outgoing CEO of Cell C, Jose dos Santos. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Outgoing CEO of Cell C, Jose dos Santos. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Debt-laden mobile operator Cell C said on Thursday that its COO Douglas Stevenson will serve as interim CEO pending the appointment of a permanent replacement for Jose dos Santos.

Stevenson has 20 years of experience in the telecommunications sector, formerly serving as CEO of of Telekom Networks Malawi, Cell C said in a statement.

“As a board, we believe he is capable of achieving the company’s objectives, strategic imperatives and long-term vision,” said Cell C chair Kuben Pillay.

Dos Santos will step down on Friday after five years at the helm, but will still be a consultant to the board of SA’s third-largest mobile operator.

Blue Label Telecoms — which holds a 45% stake in Cell C — was down 13.56% to R5.29 at 10.40am on Thursday. It had, however, earlier released its results for the six months to end-November, which shows that group revenue has declined 10% year-on-year.

Cell C has struggled for years with its debt burden, and has mulled both listing on the JSE, as well as bringing in further investors.

Blue Label said earlier in February that it had concluded an agreement with the Buffet Consortium to sell a minority stake in Cell C, which the company said would bolster the operator’s balance sheet.