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Press Release: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe appoints new chairman

Econet Wireless Group CEO, Craig Fitzgerald
Econet Wireless Group CEO, Craig Fitzgerald
Econet Wireless Group CEO, Craig Fitzgerald, speaking at the announcement of Tawanda Nyambirai’s resignation and appointment of James Meyers as Chairman of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe chairman.

Veteran American telecoms executive Dr James Patrick Myers has been appointed the new Non-Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe to replace Tawanda Nyambirai, who stepped down this week.

Dr Myers is a retired former Vice President for Africa of South Western Bell, now part of AT&T, the world’s largest telecoms company by value. He also served as the President of Southwestern Bell International Development Africa (Pty) Ltd from 1985 to 1998 and also served as its Executive Vice President from 1994 to 1995.

Dr. Myers served as the President of JMA Inc. from 1991 to 1993. Prior to that, he was President of The Gannon Group Inc from 1979 to 1991. From 1969 to 1978, Dr. Myers served as Principal of Arthur Young & Company, and from 1965 to 1969, he was an Operations Research Analyst at Texas Instruments Inc.

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He is a consultant and has over 30 years of international business experience specialising in the telecommunications industry. He is currently the Non-Executive Chairman of Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed York Timber Holdings Limited.

Dr. Myers has a BA in Mathematics from Texas A&M University, a Master of Arts in Mathematical Physics from the University of Arizona and a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research from Texas Tech University.

He first came to prominence in Africa when he led the team that acquired MTN South Africa in the early 1990s on behalf of the giant American company before it later sold it. After that, he led a consortium, which included Malaysia Telecom, that controlled Telkom South Africa for many years.

In a brief statement on the departure of Mr Nyambirai from the board, Econet Wireless founder Mr Strive Masiyiwa said: “‘TawandaNyambirai has done an extraordinary job for us. He led the legal team that fought for the original license in the courts. He has overseen the development of the business ever since I left Zimbabwe 12 years ago. He is a historical companion to me, and I look forward to working even closer with him, in other roles that I have for him.”

On Dr Myers, Mr Masiyiwa said it was a testament of how far the Zimbabwean company has come when it could persuade international businessmen of the calibre of Dr Myers to head its board. He described Dr Myers as “a man of impeccable credentials and integrity who will oversee the next phase of the Zimbabwean business’ development”.

Press release provided by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe


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19 thoughts on “Press Release: Econet Wireless Zimbabwe appoints new chairman

  1. Mmmm! nice things by nice people, much as I appreciate love and respect Strive Masiyiwa as an iconic symbol of affirmative action and the almighty Zanu policies of supporting Zimbabweans despite some having tried to get a slice of his emerging enterprise by hook and crook, appointing foreigners in a country that boasts so much world standard technocrats leaves me with a sour test in the mouth. Time will tell, perhaps they are looking at new things of which they need the influence and networks of the american hameno. Am not happy with this somehow my gut is either biased or something is amiss am not sure why chairing the board cannot be an opportunity for a beneficiary of affirmative action to show their patriotism, sometimes money is not everything. And all this CEO thingy ini hangu ha bodo!

    1. its always the right approach to push affirmative action. We bad need skills in management, especially we zimababweans. lets allow those with the best qualifications to do the job, we can learn a million things from the american mobile industry.

    2. I suppose by your logic Zimbabwean born executives like Sifiso Dabengwa (MTN), Peter Moyo (Chairman, Vodacom), Ben Magara (Anglo Coal CEO) etc should be chucked out because they are not South Africans

      1. I agree with you. We live in a global community guys and historically affirmative action usually encourages laziness and complacency. This is the way to go. If a Zimbabwean wants that post he needs to up his game!

      2. As I said before Econet is a product of affirmative action, yor examples are not so while you are right in your assertion, the issue is Zimbabwe is a net exporter of educated and skilled specialists, my question remains why in a country like that import?, South Africa have a need and indeed black faces are in demand fo

    3. Affirmative is already at Econet were was affirmative action when Strive was fighting battles with Zanu Government?Let it leave a bad taste in your mouth it will sweeten its self mateEconet is an international company ana Chiyangwa bodo

  2. congratulations to econet for making such a high profile appointment..no doubt Dr Meyers has an excellent CV, we hope he will get the job done…the next phase is mobile commerce in zimbabwe.

  3. It’s a mystery how some people can do nothing but glorify Econet and Mr. Masiyiwa, if we look back into time telecel had similar issues with employing expats, below are links on how it was covered by techzim and commented on, it seems the right thing to do is defend the Econet brand because if another company was to do so it would be unacceptable.

    http://www.techzim.co.zw/2012/01/john-swain-bounces-back-to-telecel-zimbabwe-md-position/

    http://www.techzim.co.zw/2011/02/the-telecel-side-of-the-story-indigenisation-expats-buying-zimbabwe/

    http://www.techzim.co.zw/2010/04/deported-telecel-managing-director-aimable-mpore-now-back-at-work/

  4. It’s a mystery how some people can do nothing but glorify Econet and Mr. Masiyiwa, if we look back into time telecel had similar issues with employing expats, below are links on how it was covered by techzim and commented on, it seems the right thing to do is defend the Econet brand because if another company was to do so it would be unacceptable.

    http://www.techzim.co.zw/2012/01/john-swain-bounces-back-to-telecel-zimbabwe-md-position/

    http://www.techzim.co.zw/2011/02/the-telecel-side-of-the-story-indigenisation-expats-buying-zimbabwe/

    http://www.techzim.co.zw/2010/04/deported-telecel-managing-director-aimable-mpore-now-back-at-work/

  5. Chairmanship is something that should revolve not be a like a lifetime presidency. Just like Tawanda did it for 1o yrs or so, let Dr Myers teach him bring to the board international practises & experience. Strive knows what to do, hes exposed to UK executives & wants to uplifts the standards in Zim. Now Tawanda can also chair other International corporations with the Econet experience behind him. We dont want the shenanigans that happened at Telecel to cross over here. It was a Zanu inspired move at Telecel & no one liked it especially when Zimbabweans are widely accepted internationally. Nationalismmust always be balance with the need to gain outside exposure & experience.

  6. This guy, yes I remember and I am sure it is him, is no different from Nyambirai in so far as Econet-Masiyiwa connections is concerned. When Masiyiwa was looking for funding to start Econet while the government pressed on to stop him, he at one time approached MTN to invest in Econet. It was at that time that Masiyiwa approached this guy. i am forgetting now but i think their connections may also go back to schooling days. I just remembered this when you mentioned SouthWestern bell and its involvement in MTN. This guy has a history with Econet. he is also not just a managemnt hire. The guy has connections and other non-certifiable competencies e.g. networks that will add value to Econet. people must not rush to claim that there is a Zimbo who can do the job just as well, no. Just how many bl;ack Zimbabweans could assist Econet raise capital in its early days? Very few. That is why Chanakira and Nyambirai sat on the Econet board.

  7. Dr. James Patrick Myers, Jim, BA (Texas) MA (Arizona) Ph.D.(Texas) served as the President of Southwestern Bell International Development Africa (Pty) Ltd. from 1985 to 1998 and also served as its Executive Vice President from 1994 to 1995. Dr. Myers served as the President of JMA Inc. from 1991 to 1993. From 1979 to 1991, he served as the President of The Gannon Group Inc. He served as the President of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa. From 1969 to … 1978, Dr. Myers served as Principal of Arthur Young & Company. From 1965 to 1969, he served as an Operations Research Analyst of Texas Instruments Inc. He is a Consultant and has over 30 years of international business experience specializing in the telecommunications industry. He serves as the Non Executive Chairman of York Timber Holdings Limited. He served as the Non-Executive Chairman of Spescom Ltd. from October 23, 2003 to July 9, 2007. He serves as a Director for the entities of African Merchant Bank and Econet Wireless. He has been a Director of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (alternately Econet Wireless Holdings Ltd.) since May 27, 2009 and Econet Wireless Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd. since July 2009. Dr. Myers serves as a Non Executive Director of AMB Holdings Limited. He has been a Director of York Timber Holdings Limited since February 26, 2007. From 1993 to 1994, he served as an Executive Director of Technology Resources Incorporated. He served as a Non-Executive Director of Spescom Ltd., from October 23, 2003 to July 31, 2007. He served as a Director of Enterprise Informatics Inc. (formerly Spescom Software Inc. and Altris Software Inc.) from July 2001 to October 10, 2007. Dr. Myers holds a BA in Mathematics from Texas A&M University in 1963, a Master of Arts in Mathematical Physics from the University of Arizona in 1965 and a Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research from Texas Tech University in 1969.

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