Kenyan is finally set to occupy the corner office at Safaricom House’s seventh floor after the company appointed Peter Ndegwa as its chief executive.
The appointment comes after months of a push and pull between the two largest shareholders, Vodacom and the Government, over a suitable candidate. Various senior State officials had expressed their preference for a local to steer the region’s most profitable company into its next phase of growth. The telecommunications company yesterday said Mr Ndegwa would take up the CEO position on April 1, 2020.
He was picked from Diageo, the UK-headquartered giant alcoholic beverages firm, where he was the managing director for continental Europe, overseeing Diageo’s operations in 50 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and North Africa. Ndegwa previously worked with East African Breweries Ltd (EABL), and is credited with being a key member of the team that came up with the low-end beer, Senator Keg, one of the brewer’s best-performing brands. The University of Nairobi economics graduate, who also holds an MBA from the London Business School, will take over from Michael Joseph, who stepped in on an interim capacity following the death of Bob Collymore in July.
“The Safaricom Board of Directors is confident that Peter will carry on our vision of transforming lives while keeping us focused on meeting our customers’ needs and holding us to our new commitment of being simple, transparent and honest,” said Nicholas Ng’ang’a, who chairs the board. The hiring of Safaricom’s chief executive is an arena for fights between the Government and its co-owners, South Africa’s Vodacom.