Peter Ndegwa, why Safaricom settled on the brains behind Senator Keg to be next CEO

By Vincent Kejitan | Friday, Oct 25th 2019 at 09:08
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Telecommunication giant Safaricom on Thursday announced the appointment of Peter Ndegwa as the company’s CEO effective April 1, 2020.

According to a statement sent to newsrooms, Ndegwa has over 25 years’ experience in various roles internationally and was seen as the right man to fill the shoes left by former CEO the late Bob Collymore.

He is the Managing Director of Diageo Continental Europe, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, and is well known for his time at EABL as the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Group Strategy Director, Sales Director, and as an Executive Director on the EABL Board.

Peter is credited with the development of an affordable-beer strategy for EABL resulting in the production of new brands such as Senator beer.

Senator beer became one of the most successful innovations by Diageo that has been featured in the Harvard Business Review.

Just how did they resolve to introduce a cheaper branded beer?

Well, Diageo saw Africa as a lucrative market with a growing population but the products available e.g. Tusker were too expensive for the lower middle class.

At the time, cases of illicit brew were on the rise and in Kenya, some even lost their lives after indulging in poisonous drinks.

The company created Senator Keg that was safe and clean. It became an instant hit and was distributed cheaply to small bars in estates to cater to the growing needs.

Now that the drink was available at almost every outlet in the estate, Diageo trained staff at their exclusive Senator Keg outlets on how to ensure quality was not compromised, including a specific way to wash the glasses.

To reduce the cost of packaging, the company saw it wise to have the beer in kegs and introduced special hand pumps together with plastic mugs.

This made ‘keg’, as it was commonly referred to in the estates, a preferred drink among the lower middle class and the affordability meant locals would enjoy the taste of good beer without parting with a lot of money.

With this in mind, we can presume that Safaricom saw Ndegwa as a brilliant brain who has been part of tremendous business transformations where the teams were willing to try new techniques to make profits at minimal costs.

That is perhaps every company’s dream and having been part of such a dynamic team at EABL, Ndegwa might be the man who takes Safaricom to the next level.

The post is by no means a walk in the park but we recently learnt that no human is limited!

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