Our leaders are the faces of change on our journey of becoming the first choice for customers.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Jorge Mendes is an accomplished and visionary C-Suite Executive with a proven track record of success in driving company growth and profitability. With close to 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and a wealth of knowledge in implementing consumer-centric strategies, he has consistently displayed exceptional leadership skills by fostering the growth of high-performing teams. He is a passionate advocate for people-centricity, recognizing that a company's success is rooted in the well-being and growth of its employees. By leading with charisma, energy, and authenticity, Jorge creates an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered.

Prior to joining Cell C, he was the Chief Officer: Consumer Business at Vodacom South Africa, where he was responsible for driving sustainable growth across the business as well as forging partnerships beyond telco locally and globally. He led the successful development and implementation of cross-functional operating models which increased efficiency, improved market share, established network leadership and enhanced performance across distribution channels.

With a broad global perspective, Jorge has consistently achieved remarkable results in executive roles across diverse markets, displaying his exceptional ability to establish market presence and leadership in both greenfield markets and more mature markets. Whether entering new territories or driving rapid business expansion in established markets, Jorge has demonstrated his prowess in navigating different business landscapes and delivering impressive outcomes.

Jorge holds a strong educational background, having completed the Advanced Executive Development Program at Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership and the Senior Executive Program Africa at Harvard Business School.

Chief People Officer (CPO)

Juba Mashaba brings more than 20 years of experience in senior leadership roles across various human resources (HR) functions from leading global and South African multinational companies. These include PepsiCo Sub-Saharan Africa, Arcelor-Mittal, and the Aveng Group.

His impressive track record in HR strategy and execution has seen him successfully leading large scale restructuring, capability building, performance-based remuneration practices as well as shifting organisational culture to a more performance orientated one.

As Cell C Chief Human Resources Officer, Juba's priority is on cultivating Cell C's culture and recalibrating the people practices to align to the company's new operating model. His focus is on redefining high-performance standards to support a results-driven company culture.

For Juba, change is necessary to bring about a secure, exciting, and sustainable future for Cell C, and it starts with its people.

Juba graduated from the University of Swaziland with a BA Law degree and an LLB. He also completed a HR executive programme at the University of Michigan Business School, and a Management Advancement Program at Wits Business School.

Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO)

Brett Copans joined Cell C as Managing Executive: Strategy and Business Performance in April 2022 with the main responsibility of closing the Recapitalisation. Copans in December 2022, assumed the new role of Chief Restructuring Officer, focused on ensuring the prudent and efficient use of resources and funding of high value initiatives. This role is critical in reviewing all major investment proposals and capital programmes to ensure alignment with company strategy.

Prior to joining Cell C, Brett spent 18 years at Investec Bank and then founded Pentrich Financial Services, a specialist financial services business providing capital raising, advisory and management services to companies in on-going and restructure situations.

Brett brings extensive expertise in investment banking, capital raising, financial restructuring, asset acquisition and disposals in varied industries including Banking, Telecommunications, and Property Development.

He is a Chartered Accountant (CA) with a BCom and BAcc from the University of the Witwatersrand, CFA qualification and Leadership Development (PLD) from Harvard Business School.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

With more than 20 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Schalk gained deep insights into the industry, having seen telecommunications move from exclusive to pervasive within the African market.

He has spent his entire career in the industry and has worked for some of Africa's top network service providers, including Telkom, Vodacom, and Vodacom Mozambique as an engineer and alter in executive-level positions.

He joined Cell C in 2012 as an executive in the programme management office, where he was integral in the development, design and execution of several high-profile projects, including Cell C's massive RAN renewal project. His natural mentorship and collaborative nature led him up the ladder over the years and he was promoted to Chief Technology Officer in July 2020.

With a love of learning, Schalk holds three masters degrees, one in Business Administration, one in Philosophy of Corporate Strategy and another in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Both his experience and his education provide him with a unique view of the future of the telecommunications industry and what 4IR means for those working within it. He is excited about the opportunities this future could present.

Chief Officer Wholesale Business

Stephen Morony was appointed as Chief Officer Wholesale Business on 01 January 2023.

Stephen is an experienced commercial executive with over 20 years' experience in the ICT sector. He holds a BCom in Informatics from UNISA and an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand Graduate School of Business.

He is a business executive and strategist who has consistently exceeded growth targets specifically in new business areas, with a career spanning planning and analysis and commercial negotiations roles, along with business development, product development and product management roles, complemented by advanced IT technical knowledge and stakeholder engagement at all levels.

Stephen is re-joining Cell C, having spent 6 years in the Wholesale Business from 2014 to 2020 where he was Executive Head responsible for the end-to-end management of Cell C's Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) business, a role which included the legal and commercial negotiations relating to the onboarding of MVNOs, the analysis and interrogation of their business strategies, their market segmentation, product offerings and go-to market strategies. Prior to re-joining Cell C, he was the Commercial Director of Huge Telecom.

The Wholesale Business is a critical growth pillar for Cell C, where Stephen will focus on building a robust wholesale digital solutions platform and entrench Cell C's positioning as a leader and preferred provider for MVNO's, as well as grow new business opportunities in the SME and public sector space.

Chief of Staff, Strategy and Business Transformation

Rachael has over 17 years of telecommunications experience spanning diverse roles across Enterprise, Consumer and Customer Operations with delivery in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. She began her journey at Vmobile / Airtel Nigeria and prior to joining Cell C, was Executive for Strategy and Performance Management in Vodacom’s Consumer Business Unit, where she played a pivotal role in shaping strategies that drove business growth and improved the consumer experience. She has an impressive record in defining and leading operational execution and performance across key transformation programs, and evolution of ‘Telco to TechCo’ strategies and successfully delivered on diverse strategic programmes within the Vodacom group.

With a deep understanding of market dynamics, customer behaviour, and competitor insights, Rachael successfully orchestrated and drove execution across multiple business units, impacting the consumer experience. Her leadership skills, combined with her natural coaching style, enable her to foster strong relationships and empower teams to deliver outstanding results.

In her role as Chief of Staff at Cell C, Rachael is responsible for bridging the gap between strategy and business performance, driving operational excellence, managing company-wide strategic programs to successfully delivering business growth through various stakeholder engagements and governance.

Rachael has a BSc (Ed) in Chemistry, from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, and an MBA from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is also a Certified Project Manager (PMP) with the Project Management Institute, USA, and a Certified Executive Coach.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Melanie is an exceptional marketing leader who brings an impressive track record and strategic expertise spanning over 25 years in the Telecommunications, IT, and Consumer Electronics industries, working for global brands such as Philips, NetFlorist (NetActive), Siemens, Nokia (NSN), and most recently Vodacom. Her extensive background spans both B2B and B2C markets across various African markets.

During her almost 15-year tenure at Vodacom, Forbes held key executive positions, demonstrating her ability to drive impactful initiatives in Commercialization, Governance and Operationalization, Products and Services, P&L Management, Regional Operations, Brand Management and Marketing. She played a pivotal role in shaping the brand's strategy and she was instrumental in the rebranding efforts from blue to red and impactful marketing and social initiatives in her most recent role as the Managing Executive for Consumer Marketing, Insights & Research.

Melanie holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and communications from UNISA, a Certificate in Marketing Management from WITS Business School, and a Brain-Based Coaching certification from the Neuroleadership Institute, including qualifications from prestigious institutions such as Harvard for the Senior Executive Programme, INSEAD, and GIBS for Strategy.

Her appointment highlights Cell C’s dedication to driving sustainable growth through innovation, customer-centricity, and brand transformation.

Chief Financial Officer
El Kope

A qualified Chartered Accountant, El is a seasoned professional with at least 10 years’ experience in senior finance management positions, having worked for multi-nationals such as DHL, Coca-Cola Africa, and SA Breweries. She also helped Tsebo International generate turnover to the magnitude of $150 million

Since joining Cell C, El has excelled in her role and as Acting CFO, delivered outstanding results in an incredibly short space of time that have placed the company in a favourable position with improved governance, stabilised the high staff turnover in Finance, and enhanced relations with critical stakeholders.

Chief Growth Officer

With over 14 years of experience as an accomplished actuary and quantitative analyst, his diverse background spans roles in Telecommunications and Microfinancing. Darius is recognized for his innovative approach to personalized offers, consumer guidance, contextual marketing, and loyalty programs, reshaping the landscape of prepaid telecommunications. His impactful promotions at Vodacom include "Just 4 You," "Pay Everyday," "Vodacom Shake," "Vodabucks," "Smart Notifications," and "Just 4 Your Town."

Possessing a robust skill set in applied AI, quantitative analytics, and proficient coding in SQL/SAS, Python, and VBA, Darius holds academic qualifications in BSc Actuarial Science, Financial Mathematics, and a BSc (Hons) in Financial Engineering. Darius is also a distinguished member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa.

In his new role, Darius will play a pivotal part in overseeing business development, retention strategies, and customer relationship management across the entire value chain and lifecycle, all aimed at propelling revenue growth.

His appointment underscores Cell C's commitment to commercial success and revenue growth.

Chief Officer: Sales, Distribution and Regions

With over 30 years of experience in the financial services and telecommunications industries, Chris Lazarus brings a wealth of expertise to Cell C. Previously, as the Chief Enterprise Officer at Safaricom Ethiopia, a part of the Vodacom Group, Chris spearheaded the establishment of the Enterprise Business Unit, achieving a significant milestone in launching a network serving a market of 120 million people in 2022.

Joining Vodacom in 2005 after a decade-long tenure in the financial and telecom sectors, Chris honed his skills across various roles. At Vodacom SA, he played pivotal roles in managing the Enterprise Business unit, overseeing Customer Solutions, Partner Management, product development, and Go-to-Market strategies. His leadership in establishing Vodacom Business in South Africa and developing a successful Public Sector focus showcased his strategic acumen.

Transitioning to the Consumer Business Unit in 2013, Chris established the Emerging Markets division and managed operations in Gauteng and Limpopo provinces, driving growth and fostering customer loyalty. Additionally, his role as Managing Executive of the province in KZN saw remarkable achievements in expanding network infrastructure, launching 5G in 2020, and implementing initiatives to bridge the digital divide, particularly in rural areas.

Beyond his professional endeavours, Chris is deeply rooted in family life, with a wife, Ragini, who is an accomplished leader in the healthcare software industry. Together, they have two sons, Cameron and Michael, with whom they share a passion for sports and outdoor activities.

With academic credentials including an MBA in Telecoms from Henley Business School (UK) and completion of the Advanced Executive Programme from the University of South Africa (UNISA), Chris combines theoretical knowledge with practical experience. His commitment to education is evident in initiatives such as the "Code like a Girl" Programme aimed at empowering high school girls through coding skills.

As a leader, Chris is renowned for his people-centric approach and strong work ethic, emphasizing both productivity and enjoyment in the workplace. His role in Ethiopia saw him chairing purpose-led objectives focused on education, health, and agriculture, highlighting his dedication to making a meaningful impact beyond business success.

Chief Data and Analytics Officer

With 19 years of industry experience spanning actuarial science, financial services, and telecommunications, Bryan brings a wealth of expertise to his role. His career journey is defined by exceptional problem-solving skills, strategic acumen, and analytical prowess.

Prior to his appointment at Cell C, Bryan held key leadership positions, including Managing Executive roles at Vodacom South Africa, where he played a pivotal role in shaping pricing strategies, providing financial leadership, and driving informed decision-making processes. Additionally, his tenure at Hollard Insurance, spanning over 15 years, further fortified his expertise in investments, product development, and operational governance.

With a Bachelor of Economic Science in Actuarial Science and a Bachelor of Science Honors in Actuarial Science and Maths of Finance from the University of Witwatersrand, Bryan is well-equipped to spearhead Cell C's data and analytics initiatives to drive innovation and customer-centric strategies at Cell C, propelling us towards greater growth and optimisation.


JORGE MENDES Chief Executive Officer (CEO)


BRETT COPANS Chief Restructuring Officer (CRO)


JUBA MASHABA Chief People Officer (CPO)


SCHALK VISSER Chief Technology Officer (CTO)


STEPHEN MORONY Chief Officer Wholesale Business


RACHAEL AYO-OLADEJO Chief of Staff, Strategy and Business Transformation


MELANIE FORBES Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)


EL KOPE Chief Financial Officer


DARIUS BADENHORST Chief Growth Officer


CHRIS LAZARUS Chief Officer: Sales, Distribution and Regions


BRYAN O'DONOVAN Chief Data and Analytics Officer