Michael Joseph has been appointed as the new Safaricom board chairman, ending the 13-year reign of Nicholas Ng’ang’a, who has served as the telco’s chairman and non-executive director since 2007.
Cumulatively, Mr Ng’ang’a has sat on the board of East Africa’s most profitable company for 16 years after first joining the firm’s directorship in 2004.
Announcing the appointment, Safaricom chief executive officer Peter Ndegwa said Mr Joseph takes over from August 1, 2020 with a mandate to ‘improve customer sentiment, greater brand consideration and to bolster the firm’s digital transformation agenda.’
“He brings a wealth of skills and industry knowledge given his contribution to the growth of Safaricom from very humble beginnings to becoming one of the most innovative, influential and profitable companies in the East African region,” Mr Ndegwa said.
There is probably no one who understands Safaricom better than Mr Joseph, who has served the telco as its CEO twice and has been a board member for several years.
It was under his leadership that Safaricom launched the revolutionary mobile money platform, M-Pesa, which has become the biggest and the most successful mobile money service in the world.
M-Pesa has been recognised as one of the top 10 Most Influential Finance Projects of the last 50 years by Project Management Institute (PMI) in its 2019 Most Influential Projects list.
WEARS MANY HATS
Mr Joseph joined the Safaricom board on September 8, 2008. After exiting as CEO, he was employed by Vodafone Group Services Limited as Director of Mobile Money.
Mr Joseph, who is also the current chairman of Kenya Airways’ board, is also Vodafone’s Strategic Advisor, appointed to the Boards of Vodacom Group South Africa, Vodacom Tanzania and Vodacom Mozambique.
He was the first Safaricom CEO from July 2000 when the company was re-launched as a joint venture between Vodafone UK and Telkom Kenya until his retirement in November 2010. But he would come back as a caretaker CEO after the death of Bob Collymore last year as the firm looked for a new boss.
During his tenure, Mr Joseph steered the company from a subscriber base of less than 20,000 to over 16.71 million subscribers.
In addition, he has extensive international experience in company start-ups, the implementation and operation of large wireless and wire-line networks, including operations in Hungary, Spain, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Korea, the USA, Australia and the Middle East.