On October 24, 2019, Safaricom announced that they had picked Peter Ndegwa to become the future Chief Executive Officer of the company. The first African man to head the leading mobile service provider in Kenya and East Africa.
Ndegwa is expected to start the job on April 1, 2020, taking over from the interim CEO, Michael Joseph. Michael Joseph took over the CEO's position from Bob Collymore, who died in July this year.
Currently, Ndegwa works as the Managing Director of Diageo Continental Europe, a British multinational alcoholic beverages company that operates in Europe, Russia, and North Africa. He has spent the most of his life working for Diageo here in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. But, perhaps the most essential thing about Ndegwa is that he worked for East African Breweries Limited (EABL) in the mid-2000s, where he invented the famous "Senator Keg" drink.
Here is a summary of his work and personal life.
Ndegwa is an alumnus of Starehe Boys Centre, and after completing his high school education, he later joined the University of Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Economics. He then went to London Business School to pursue his MBA. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).
Ndegwa joined EABL in 2004 as the sales director and the head of corporate strategy. Between 2006 and 2008, he worked as the sales director and finance director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. From 2011 to 2015, he was the managing director of Guinness Ghana Breweries. Later, he joined Guinness Nigeria Breweries, where he worked as the managing director from 2015 to 2018. In July 2018, Ndegwa became the MD of Diageo Continental Europe, where he is still working even now.
Peter Ndegwa is married to Jemimah Ndegwa, and they are blessed with one boy child called Ryan. Based on Jemimah's positive reaction to Ndegwa's recent appointment, you could say that the man is living a happy married life.
Getting away from his education, work experience, and family, let us have a look at the company he will be working for in the future.
Safaricom PLC, as we know it today, is the leading mobile service provider in Kenya and East Africa. The company was started in 1993 as a department of Kenya Post and Telecommunication Corporation. The Kenyan government, South Africa's Vodafone, and private investors have stakes at Safaricom.
Furthermore, Safaricom has invented numerous mobile services since its incorporation as a private limited liability company in 1997. For example, in 2007, Safaricom launched Mpesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer and micro-financing service. Another service created by Safaricom is M-shwari, which is a service that allows customers to save and borrow money through their phones. Fuliza is another service that was invented last year by Safaricom, which will enable you to complete your M-Pesa transactions when you have insufficient funds in your M-Pesa account. To repay your Fuliza, you deposit money into your M-Pesa account, and the Fuliza balance will be deducted automatically.
By looking at Ndegwa's work experience, then it is true that the man will bring a great deal of expertise to Safaricom. This is because he has spent a lot of time in the corporate world.
Ndegwa has experience in running companies with a lot of government involvement. If you look at companies like Safaricom and EABL, you will see that the Kenyan government has shares in both companies. That means the government has a say in what goes on in those companies. The appointment of Ndegwa is not a mistake because he knows how to manage such companies amid government interference.
Another thing is that Ndegwa has demonstrated his innovativeness, integrity, hard work, and commitment in his previous jobs. Ultimately, Safaricom's board of directors wants someone innovative, someone who can come up with a revolutionary mobile service like M-PESA, M-Shwari, or Fuliza. And our man here Mr. Ndegwa, has already proven that before by inventing Senator Keg. He demonstrated his outstanding innovative skills back in 2004 at EABL. He was the man who spearheaded the program that launched Senator Keg. At that time, EABL, with the support of the government, was planning to introduce a bonafide beer into the Kenyan market that is affordable to the lower-income consumers. Considering his creative skills, that makes Ndegwa the best corporate leader to steer Safaricom into the future.
Don't forget that Ndegwa has gone to the best schools here in Kenya and abroad.
Also, if you can remember, there was a time Kenyans on social media pressured Safaricom's board of directors to appoint a Kenyan to head Safaricom immediately after the death of Bob Collymore. They were proposing Sylvia Mulinge to take Collymore's position. Well, maybe Safaricom heard the people's voices and decided to appoint a Kenyan man instead of a foreigner. Nobody knows.
But, around that time, Michael Joseph said something interesting- that Safaricom is a special company. And I think he meant a special company with special people in it.
This is because Peter Ndegwa is truly a special man to be the head of the company. He has gone to the best schools, and over the years, he has gained a lot of good work experience. In addition to that, he is creative and happily married.
One could say that Peter Ndegwa's qualities coincide with the unique nature of Safaricom, and that makes him the best man to lead the company.