Peter Ndegwa. He is the new Safaricom CEO having been appointed by the company's board. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Peter Ndegwa. He is the new Safaricom CEO having been appointed by the company's board. [Photo/BusinessDay Media]

Safaricom, the most profitable company in East and Central Africa will for the first time be headed by a Kenyan almost 20 years since its inception.

Just a day after launching a new strategy promising to be more transparent and honest, Safaricom has unveiled its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

In a statement to newsrooms, the company’s Board of Directors said it has resolved to appoint Peter Ndegwa as the company’s CEO effective April 1, 2020.

Ndegwa joins Safaricom from Diageo where he is the Managing Director of Diageo Continental Europe.

Chequered Career

“Peter brings a wealth of experience in General Management, Commercial and Business Strategy, Sales and Finance Operations, having spent over 25 years in various roles within the Financial Services and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors in Africa and Europe,” the statement said.

The statement adds that in his current role, Ndegwa oversees the operations of Diageo in 50 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and the North Africa region.

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Ndegwa previously served for seven years as CEO in Guinness Nigeria PLC and Guinness Ghana Breweries PLC, where he transformed the two operations to deliver a double-digit growth by investing in people, introducing new brands and reorganising the businesses.

Prior to that, he served for eight years across a range of senior Executive Director roles at EABL (a Diageo subsidiary) based in Nairobi.

Serving as the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Group Strategy Director, Sales Director, and as an Executive Director on the EABL Board, he was part of the team that saw the EABL business more than doubled in value – and winning the coveted Most Respected Business Award in East Africa for five years in a row.

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

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

He started his career at PwC, the global consulting firm, where he worked for 11 years.

Ndegwa holds an MBA from the London Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi.

He is also a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).

The Safaricom Board added, “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.”

New strategy for Safaricom

On Wednesday, Safaricom unveiled a new strategy saying that it is seeking to renew its commitment to its customers.

This comes just months after the demise of the company’s CEO Bob Collymore who succumbed to cancer in the night of July 1.

Collymore steered the company for a decade having taken over from Michael Joseph who was temporarily back at the company to oversee the transition to the next Safaricom CEO.

During his tenure, Collymore managed to make Safaricom’s presence and visibility more prominent with the Twaweza slogan being among the highlights of his career at the telco.

Read>>> The Men and Women Who Picked the New CEO

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