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Safaricom CEO Finally Speaks Out After Resignation Reports

by Paul Nyongesa
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Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa, has dismissed rumours about his tenure at the company as he marks his third year in the role, stating that his employment terms are not tied to the three-year contract cycle offered to his predecessors, who were expatriates.

Ndegwa has been at the helm of the East African telco since April 2020, and has been the subject of speculation recently as changes continue to take place within the company. However, he stated that his future at Safaricom is not a concern and that he will not be drawn into the speculation surrounding his tenure.

Ndegwa confirmed that unlike his predecessors, he is a Kenyan and therefore, the issue of his contract does not have to apply in the same way. Instead, he agreed a number of deliverables with the Board of Directors against which his performance would be tracked.

“The right position is that, unlike my two predecessors who came in as expatriates, I am a Kenyan and so the issue of contract didn’t have to apply. So, when I was joining, we sat with the Board of Directors and agreed on a number of deliverables against which they would track my performance,” Mr Ndegwa told Business daily.

Safaricom’s net profit for the year ended March 2022 dropped 1.7% to KES67.49bn ($593.46m), which was attributed to investments in Ethiopian operations and additional tax payments. The company saw a loss of KES4.8bn from the Ethiopian firm, where it holds a 55.7% stake, and faced a 39.1% increase in tax payments to KES34.7bn after the lifting of tax relief attached to the Covid-19 economic stimulus package. This was followed by a 6.8% drop in net profits the previous year, which was the first full-year earnings drop in nine years.

The Safaricom Board Charter states that a CEO serves between three and seven years, with the possibility of extension. Ndegwa’s appointment as CEO was announced in October 2019, but the company did not make his tenure public. Nevertheless, a director at Safaricom confirmed that Ndegwa’s term does not end in April and stated that he is not an expat like previous CEOs. Speculation about Ndegwa’s future at the company began following changes on the board earlier in the year, including the exit of Chairman John Ngumi, who was replaced by Adil Arshed Khawaja.

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