Freedom Phuthuma Nhleko (born 7 April 1960) is a South African businessman, currently serving as executive chairman of MTN Group, which is an Africa-focused holding group involved primarily in the operation of GSM cellular telephone networks.
The group, which employs 6,000 people, reported turnover of R29bn for the year ended March 2005.
Nhleko is also chairman and one of the founding members of Worldwide African Investment Holdings, an investment holding company with interests in the petroleum, telecommunications, and information technology industries. He helped build the company to a book value of investments of about R3,5bn.
As CEO of MTN group, Mr. Nhleko has been appointed in 2007 to the Board of Directors of the GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for mobile phone operators. He served the board during a two-year term from January 2007.
He was previously a senior member of the Standard Corporate & Merchant Bank corporate finance team. He also practised as a civil engineer and project manager for the Urban Foundation, and was a senior road engineer for the Ministry of Works in Swaziland.
Nhleko is a director of Johnnic Holdings, Nedbank Group and Old Mutual SA.
Nhleko's academic qualifications include a BSc in civil engineering from Ohio State University and an MBA in finance from Atlanta University.