KENYA – Peter Ndegwa has officially taken office as the new CEO of Safaricom PLC taking over the mantle from Michael Joseph who has ben holding the position on an interim basis following the death of Bob Collymore.

Ndegwa joins Safaricom from Diageo PLC, where he was the managing director of Diageo Continental Europe.

According to the telco’s board, Ndegwa brings a wealth of experience in general management, commercial and business strategy, and sales and finance operations, having spent more than 25 years in various roles within the financial services and fast-moving consumer goods sectors in Africa and Europe.

“We are 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,” board chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said.

Ndegwa is the third substantial chief executive of the company following in the footsteps of Joseph (2000-2010) and the late Collymore (November 2010-July 2019).

He has a big shoe to fill owing to his predecessors’ success at the Nairobi Securities (NSE)-listed telco, which has remained a leading service provider, accounting for 64.8 per cent of mobile subscriptions in the country.

Its M-Pesa platform recorded the highest market share of 98.8 per cent in the second quarter of the 2019-20 financial year, the Communication Authority data shows.

Joseph confirmed Ndegwa would be assuming his new role today despite being in self-quarantine, having come into the country from Tanzania. He has been participating in Safaricom’s meetings and engaging the board for the last two months ahead of his official duties.

“I will be with him for the next few months guiding him through. It is a slow process, but he understands the company well,” Joseph told The Star.

In the country, the company has 34.1 million subscribers in a market that has a total subscription of 53.2 million, according to CA data. The telco giant is followed by airtel with 14 million subscribers, Telkom (3.3 million) and Equitel with 1.7 million.

Safaricom is 35 per cent owned by South Africa’s Vodacom, with the Kenyan government enjoying a 35 per cent stake. Twenty-five per cent is traded at the NSE, while Vodafone Group has a five per cent stake.