Meet Karl O. Toriola, the highest ranking Nigerian in MTN

Karl Toriola

As part of ongoing restructuring of its operations, MTN Group has appointed Nigerian Karl Olukotun Toriola as Vice President West and Central Africa effective January 1, 2016.

The announcement, which was made on Thursday, December 3, 2015, by the group’s CEO, Phuthuma Nhleko, makes Mr Toriola the highest ranking Nigerian in MTN, learned.

It came just as the Johannesburg-based mobile giant announced the resignation of MTN Nigeria CEO, Michael Ikpoki and Head of Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, Akinwale Goodluck.

With the new appointment, Toriola will oversee the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Benin, Congo Brazzaville, Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Guinea Bissau.

Married for 20 years, Toriola is one of the most experienced executives in the telecoms industry in Nigeria, having served as executive since 2003 in various capacities and companies. He joined MTN Nigeria as the Chief Technical Officer, Network Group (NWG) from November 2006 to November 2011, where he was responsible for Technology Strategy, Network Operations, Network Quality, Capital Projects and Network Rollout, Access Planning, Core Planning, Technical Training and Technical Finance.

He was thereafter appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Cameroon from December 2011 to March 2015. At MTN Cameroon, he turned around an MTN underperformer to a top performer. During his time at MTN Cameroon, he grew market share from 51% to an outstanding lead of 62%. He successfully negotiated the renewal of the license and addition of 3G, 4G, and fibre license in 2015. He also successfully negotiated the transfer of part ownership of the WACS submarine cable system to the Government of Cameroon, and led the MTN Cameroon to Investors In Gold (IIP) certification, the first subsidiary of MTN Group to secure the certification.

In April 2015, Mr. Toriola was appointed as the Group Operating Executive, MTN Group where he had direct responsibility for 12 MTN Subsidiaries in 12 countries.

Prior to joining MTN Nigeria, he was the Chief Operations/Regional Officer for Vmobile Nigeria (now Airtel Nigeria) from April 2004 to July 2006. At Airtel Nigeria, he was responsible for operations which included network rollout, network planning and optimisation, maintenance, site acquisition and property development. He also managed the transition of the technical functions following the termination of the Econet Wireless International Technical Services Agreement. He subsequently joined MTN Irancell, Tehran as Operations Consultant, managing the network roll out until October 2006.

He started his career in Telecoms in Ericsson Switzerland in 1995, and moved to Ericsson Nigeria in 2000 and was a key part of the roll out of GSM networks in Nigeria.

He obtained a B.Sc. in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife in 1994. He also holds an M.Sc. in Communication Systems, University of Wales, Swansea, United Kingdom. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, USA, London Business School, UK, and the Institute of Management Development (IMD), Switzerland, and has attended various other executive development programs with INSEAD and Wharton Business Schools

Personal and functional awards received in the course of his career include Best CTO Award (2009) and Best Network Award (2009).

He is a member of the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN). He has recently been accepted as a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers