Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph has revealed why the company chose Peter Ndegwa to take over the top job.
Speaking during an interview with Citizen TV’s Yvonne Okwara, Mr Joseph played down the selection to enforced pressures from vested parties.
“I wouldn’t say the board gave in to demands. Personally, it’s the right thing to do. After 19 years, a Kenyan should be running Safaricom. The appointment is just a natural progression more than anything else,” he said on Thursday evening.
Nevertheless, Mr. Joseph acknowledged to pockets of pressure in the extended succession process which dates back nearly 12 months.
“There always was pressure that we should have a Kenyan. Why not a Kenyan. Some asked why we should have a Kenyan while others asked why not pick the best person for the job,” he added.
Joseph’s candid tale on electing the successor to Bob Collymore opens the lid on the succession debacle at the firm which saw the government express desire for a Kenyan at the helm of the company.
The replacement process for the late Bob Collymore had kicked off months before his July 1 demise.
However, his death saw increased scrutiny of the process with ‘netizens’ suggesting home-grown nominees including Chief Customer Officer Sylvia Mulinge.
ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru would at the time insist on his wish to see a Kenyan take up the top job even as he maintained that Safaricom had free will on choice of successor.
“I don’t think the government position has changed, we would still love to see a Kenyan. However like any other company, they (Safaricom) have a choice as to who they want to be their CEO,” Mucheru said in a past interview.
Peter Ndegwa, a Kenyan with an illustrious multinational exposure emerged as seemingly the middle-ground choice in appeasing the interests of all concerned parties including those of Vodacom which has historically dictated leadership at the firm.
Mr. Ndegwa will have the immediate task of pushing Safaricom back in-line to respond to consumer dissatisfaction as mirrored in the most recent public uproar on the opaque service delivery.
Michael Joseph made admittance of the firm’s dereliction of its key customer base while informing of the company’s renewed vigor to correct the anomaly.
“Because we have been so successful, we have tended to not listen to our customers as we become big, fat and happy. To some extent we have moved away from our customers and lost touch,” Mr. Joseph said.
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