Safaricom Thursday appointed former East African Breweries Limited (EABL) finance director Peter Ndegwa as the new chief executive.
“Safaricom Plc board of directors has resolved to appoint Mr Peter Ndegwa as the company’s chief executive effective April 1, 2020,” said Safaricom chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a in statement Thursday.
Mr Ndegwa becomes the first Kenyan to head the largest telco operator in the region.
ICT Secretary Joe Mucheru had earlier said that the government’s wish was to have a Kenyan at the helm of the country’s most profitable company, fuelling fears that it may influence the choice of the next CEO.
“My wish is that a Kenyan gets [sic] the position, but we don’t control the business. We have appointed directors to run the business, it doesn’t mean that what the government wants is what it gets,” the CS said in June.
Mr Ng’ang’a said Safaricom is banking on Mr Ndegwa’s “wealth of experience” gained from being at the helm of regional and local corporates for “over 25 years.”
He is expected to take over from the acting chief executive Mr Michael Joseph who stepped in after the demise of former boss Bob Collymore.
“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 being simple, transparent and honest,” said Mr Ng’ang’a.
Mr Ndegwa was the first African to head beer giant Diageo’s business operations in continental Europe and Russia.
Peter Ndegwa, who was previously chief executive of Guinness Nigeria Breweries Plc, also a Diageo unit, took over as general manager in continental Europe from July 2018.
Mr Ndegwa joined East African Breweries Limited in January 2004 as a director and head of strategy. Previously, he worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He was sales director between 2006 and 2008, the year he was appointed the group finance director.