Safaricom Chairman John Ngumi resigns after six months

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  • Safaricom Limited Chairman John Ngumi has resigned as the Chairman of the board effective 22nd December 2022 six months after his appointment. 
  • Ngumi leaves the Board to focus on developing green energy generation across Africa with an emphasis on green hydrogen. 
  • The company has also appointed veteran lawyer Adil Arshed Khawaja as a director of the board, effective 22nd December 2022. 

Safaricom Limited Chairman John Ngumi has resigned as the Chairman of the board effective 22nd December 2022, six months after his appointment. 

Safaricom Company Secretary Kathryne Maundu says Ngumi leaves the Board to focus on developing green energy generation across Africa with an emphasis on green hydrogen. 

“We take this opportunity to thank John for his service, dedication, sound advice and commitment to the Company. The Board wishes him the very best for the future,” Maundu said in a public notice released on Friday.

She says in the brief period following his appointment to the Board, Ngumi has steered the Company through a general election and supported the entrenchment of our purpose of transforming lives through our products and services as well as within the communities we serve.

“In particular, Ngumi strongly supported and ensured the repositioning of the Fuliza product to better serve Kenyans. He was also an ardent enthusiast for Safaricom’s entry into Ethiopia,” she said. 

The move is seen as political as East Africa’s most profitable company tries to align with the new administration. 

Before the announcement of the resignation, Kenya’s most sought after political analyst and lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi tweeted: 

“Kenya like America is a Presidential system. All appointees of President Uhuru shouldn’t wait for President William Ruto to fire and replace them, go before Tuesday. Someone like John Ngumi Chairman of Safaricom shouldn’t wait to be fired, go tomorrow.” 

Ngumi was said to be a key ally of the former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. 

At the same time, the company has appointed veteran lawyer Adil Arshed Khawaja as a Director of the board, effective 22nd December 2022. The appointment was approved by the Board of Directors on 5th January 2023, and is subject to regulatory approval. 

Khawaja currently serves as the Managing Partner of Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews, the oldest law firm in Kenya, established in 1902 with a reputation as an innovative, experienced, responsive, and highly skilled firm. 

He holds board positions in various companies across various markets that include Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, Al Futtaim Automotive-CMC Motors Group Limited and Atua Enkop Africa Limited. 

He previously served as a director of KCB Bank Group from 2012 and was elected the first chairman of KCB Bank Kenya Limited from 2016 until 2020 when his tenure ended. He has also served as a director on the board of Kenya Power & Lighting Company and as a Trustee of the Kenya Wildlife Service. 

“Mr. Khawaja is a highly distinguished Advocate of the High Court of Kenya with over 30 years work experience in the legal profession ranging from dispute resolution to commercial and real estate. He is recognized as a leading name in the Kenyan legal profession and has been globally recognized in various practice groups as one of the most sought-after lawyers in Kenya,” the notice reads. 

Safaricom Performance 

In November 2022, Safaricom released their 2023 half year results (April – September 2022) reporting a 18.4 percent drop in profits attributable to heavy costs incurred during its entry into the Ethiopian market, a review of the Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) in 2022 and the introduction of Excise Tax on SIM Cards.

The profits dropped from Sh37 billion in the previous financial year to Sh30.2 billion in the period under review. 

MPESA was the best earner for the company during the period as it contributed 39.3 percent of the company’s service revenue at Sh56.86 billion, an 8.7 percent increase compared to the previous year performance. 

During the period under review, mobile data revenues went up by 11.3 percent to Sh26.3 billion while voice revenues dropped by 3.8 percent to Sh39.88 billion. 

Safaricom Ethiopia makes KSh 98.3 million in total revenue in first 30 days

Ethiopia Business 

Last Year, Safaricom entered the Ethiopian market after it got a licence through a consortium made of British development finance agency CDC Group, Vodafone and Vodacom, and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation

The move was followed by  a massive investment in building infrastructure and networks. The consortium plans to invest Sh36 billion annually. 

In one month, Safaricom Ethiopia hit one million subscribers and generated Sh98.3 million in revenues. 

Last month, Safaricom Ethiopia switched on its network and services in Hawassa, Assela, Jigjiga, Sodo and Dilla cities, growing its network footprint across Ethiopia  to 21 cities.

A communication expert with over 10 years’ in journalism and public relations. My ability to organize, coordinate and follow through assignments has enabled me to excel in media. I have a passion for business in Africa and of course business in Kenya!

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