But CEO Peter Ndegwa’s job is safe.

Kenya’s top telco, Safaricom, has continued its corporate shakeup with the appointment of new board members. Last week, Karen Kandie and Ory Okolloh were announced as new members of the telco’s board of directors. This comes after Safaricom replaced John Ngumi, who served as chairman for only six months before resigning, with popular Kenyan lawyer, Adil Khawaja.

Safaricom also announced the resignation of  Linda Watiri from its board, effective February 20.

The new board appointees join Safaricom’s 10-member board, replacing Kandie, who was appointed Alternate Director to the Cabinet Secretary of National Treasury and Economic Planning, replacing Stanley Kamau; while Okolloh has been appointed as an Independent Director, replacing Bitange Ndemo.

Kandie, who is the current Director of Parastatal Reforms (Financial) at the National Treasury and Economic Planning, will represent Treasury CS, Njuguna Ndung’u, during Safaricom’s board meetings. The Kenyan government owns 35% of Safaricom and a board seat.

Safaricom’s board.

Kandie brings with her more than two decades of experience in strategic leadership and management in the financial services industry.

Okolloh, on the other hand, is a partner at Verod-Kepple Africa Ventures (VKAV), where she leads and implements investment-related activities, drives expansion, and supports partner companies with strategic and operational issues. Along with Erik Hersman and two others, Okolloh co-founded Ushahidi, the open-source software application which utilises user-generated reports to collate and map data.

She has extensive experience in corporate operations and serves as a member of several boards, including Thomson Reuters Founders Share Trust, East African Breweries PLC, Deloitte Africa, Stanbic Foundation, and Adecco Group Foundation.

Okolloh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Harvard Law School.

The appointments were effective as of 24th February 2023.

Life under a new government

Safaricom still maintains some of the government linkages that date back to its days as part of the government’s telecommunications agency,  Kenya’s Posts & Telecommunications Corporation.

We previously reported on Safaricom’s executive reshuffling that saw Boniface Mungania who held the position of Chief Financial Services officer in an acting capacity since July 2022, replaced by former KCB corporate banking director, Esther Masese. Mungania was then moved to the group’s digital transformation partnership office where he is responsible for driving partnerships with Kenya’s national and county governments, as Director of Public Sector Digital Transformation. Ex-Diageo South Africa marketing head, Zizwe Awuor Vundla, was also hired as Director of Brand and Marketing.

Local media reporting has described the series of shakeups, especially the resignation of John Ngumi who was close to the Uhuru administration, as part of moves on the part of the telco to “align itself with the new government under President William Ruto.”

Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa, has had to bat away the exit rumours that forced Vodacom and the Kenyan government, who are the key shareholders of Kenya’s main telecoms operator, to publicly agree in principle to extend the tenure of its Ndegwa. The reappointment was linked to him continuing the group’s international expansion.

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