There is a simmering cold war brewing at the Kenya’s top Telecommunication company Safaricom Limited following the appointment of the new Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa.
Ndegwa is finding it hard to cope with his new company barely days after he officially assumed office as he has been welcomed with a cold reception with the telco’s senior managers.
A fierce management battle has erupted as the said angered managers are wondering how an “outsider” in the name of Ndegwa who has no experience in telecommunication field landed the top job from nowhere and is even earning more salary than those managers who claim to have grown the company to where it is today.
According to insider sources, the initial smooth running of the top mobile company in Kenya is currently in deeply kept secret crisis since the senior managers feel Ndegwa is clueless about the operations of the telco company.
The source alluded that it was the late Bob Collymore dying wish that Kenyan takes over the firm and even began grooming one from the inside who is abreast with the running of the company.
Among the top Kenyans who were being seen as potentially qualified to be the next Safaricom CEO include Sylvia Mulinge, Steve Okeyo, Joseph Ogutu and Sateesh Kamath who occasionally acted as CEO when Collymore fell sick.
Among them, it is said Sylia Mulinge was Bob Collymore’s favorite. To put her ahead of others, Collymore would promote Mulinge to the lucrative chief customer officer job where she was responsible for sales operations, customer service, brand marketing and experience, consumer business, digital and market development. This was aimed at getting her relevant experience to become a CEO.
Steve Okeyo who was the company’s director in charge of regional sales and operations was forced to resign under mysterious circumstances by the powers that be. Our insider source confirmed Okeyo, despite being the sharpest brain at the time and most qualified would have never been allowed to be within the company’s precincts during the recruitment as the tribal board of directors could not afford to have a Luo at the helm.
Similar fate would meet Joseph Ogutu, the current director for strategy and innovation, who was also mentioned to succeed Collymore but was left to dream about it.
Chief finance officer Sateesh Kamath was once quoted complaining bitterly and dismissed Ndegwa’s appointment, claiming the telecommunication industry was not a like a brewing company where Ndegwa was immediately coming from.
When they tried to block Ndegwa’s appointment before confirmation, the senior managers were overpowered by external forces and government pressure through Safaricom’s Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a who is said to be the force behind Ndegwa. Efforts by Vodafone to have a foreigner at the helm to avoid management wars were similarly thwarted by the same government forces.
After being overwhelmed by the government external forces, the Safaricom managers are said to have ceded and opted to wait for Ndegwa to take over the coveted seat and have now retracted to a silent cold war to bring him down. As things are, Ndegwa is now a total lone ranger at Safaricom.