Adia Sowho steps down as MTN Nigeria CMO

MTN Nigeria has maintained that Sowho's departure was a mutual agreement without commenting on any speculations.

Adia Sowho steps down as MTN Nigeria CMO
Sowho began as a Radio Frequency Engineer at US Cellular Corporation

A top official, Adia Sowho, has resigned from her position as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of MTN Nigeria after three years of service. Starting as the first-ever female CMO of the telecommunications giant, her tenure brought new marketing dimensions and standards.

The abrupt exit comes amid speculations about the basis for her exit. MTN Nigeria has maintained that Sowho's departure was a mutual agreement without commenting on any speculations.

Her career is marked by innovation and timely changes. Sowho began as a Radio Frequency Engineer at US Cellular Corporation and later worked as a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP before joining the Nigerian telecom sector with Etisalat Nigeria, now 9mobile.

At Migo, she introduced instant lending solutions, enabling users to secure 10,000 loans per day. Her management at ThriveAgric earned the company recognition as one of the fastest-growing companies according to the Financial Times in 2024.

Beginning her MTN Nigeria journey in August 2021, she infused the organization with ‘startup energy,’ transforming the company’s Consumer Business unit, which recorded over 20% year-on-year growth consistently.

The data segment grew by 50%, and MTN launched 5G services, becoming the first Nigerian telecom company to do so. Her efforts in partnering with OTT providers and OEMs promoted smartphone adoption and affordable device ownership, expanding MTN’s customer base and fostering an inclusive digital economy.

She emphasised the importance of marketing to the right audience and delivering the right products by studying customer behaviour. This approach improved customer satisfaction and business advancement.

She also championed prescriptive analytics, enabling the operator to predict customer needs and fine-tune strategies quickly. This digital transformation enhanced the understanding of customer behaviour and decision-making processes.

By removing barriers that prevented employees from working in a coordinated and integrated manner, Sowho fostered cooperation across groups, accelerating the pace of delivering new solutions to the market. These cultural changes ensured MTN remained competitive and innovative.

In a LinkedIn post, she spoke about the significance of partnerships, customer-oriented approaches, and organizational flexibility. She expressed appreciation to her team, colleagues, and especially Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria, for recognizing her potential.

Her departure is by mutual consent, but her impact will resonate within the company for years. Ugonwa Nwoye, the current Chief Customer Relations Officer, will assume the position of acting CMO to maintain the pace set.

Sowho's experience at MTN Nigeria demonstrates that transformative change can be achieved through effective leadership and innovation. She successfully managed to overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and motivate her team to high levels, setting a model for the telecommunications industry. 

Her future endeavours may take her to other organizations, but the legacy she left will shape the company’s future. Her term of service has ended, but the policies and measures she implemented will continue to guide MTN Nigeria as it evolves its telecommunications services in the digital age.

Editor's note: The second paragraph of this article was edited to remove some details of the allegations as reported by another publication.

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