My Safaricom future is safe, Peter Ndegwa on exit speculation

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.[Wilberforce Okwiri,Standard]

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Safaricom PLC Peter Ndegwa has expressed confidence in his ability to steer the giant telco longer than some people would estimate.

This comes on the back of speculation that the senior leadership of the telecommunications company is seeking to replace him, citing depressed growth under his tenure.

In the Financial Year ended March 31, 2022, Safaricom saw its profits dip by 1.7 per cent to close the year with a net profit of Sh67.49 billion, down from Sh68.7 billion the previous year.

Ndegwa attributed the weakened performance to Ethiopia entry, post-Covid-19 effects, a battered global economy and increased operating costs.

Asked on Citizen Television on Thursday, January 26, whether he felt his stay at the helm of Safaricom was no longer tenable, owing to the slowed financial progress, Ndegwa said he is confident that he'll be allowed to lead the firm longer because of his "very successful three years".

"Decisions about my future at Safaricom are made by the Board of Directors. I, however, know that the [business] strategy is clear, and the management is focused on ensuring that Safaricom continues to transform lives and play its role in Kenya," Ndegwa said on News Night show.

He added: "I will continue to lead the business to the future."

On Thursday, Safaricom announced that its Board of Directors had chosen seasoned lawyer Adil Khawaja as the chairperson, replacing John Ngumi who resigned on December 22, 2022 after six months in the position.

With the Safaricom Board chairperson now in place, Ndegwa said the decision about his future can now be decided upon promptly.

"Now that we have a new chairman, I'm sure it's a question that he and the Board of Directors can answer. Nonetheless, I know that I've had very successful three years [as Safaricom CEO]," said Ndegwa, whose appointment was made on April 1, 2020.

He replaced Bob Collymore, who died of cancer on July 1, 2019.

Until his appointment as Safaricom topmost manager, Ndegwa served as the Managing Director of Diageo Continental Europe, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company.

Prior to that, he was the East African Breweries Limited's Group Chief Finance Officer, and the Executive Director of the firm's Board of Directors.

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