Kenya’s Safaricom has announced that Michael Joseph, current chairman of the board, has stepped down to lead the telecom’s Ethiopian campaign.
The announcement comes as the company prepares to launch its new venture in Ethiopia. According to the telecom operator, John Ngumi, who has served on the board of directors in several private companies and SOEs, will replace Joseph.
He was founder and CEO from July 2000 to November 2010, overseeing mobile finance-led growth that made Safaricom the most sought-after company in East Africa. The company is still the dominant operator in the Kenyan market.
Joseph also became acting CEO from July 2019 to March 2020, after the death of Bob Collymore. In addition, he was appointed to chair the Safaricom board in August 2020.
In a statement, Joseph said, “I want to devote more time to supporting Safaricom’s investment in Ethiopia and stepping down from my role as chairman allows me the flexibility and freedom to undertake this important role on behalf of Safaricom.”
He also disclosed that he intends to remain as a board director and will devote time to his post as chairman of Kenya Airways.
He also indicated that he has worked closely with CEO Peter Ndegwa as part of the transition. However, it’s unclear what Joseph will be doing or what title he will assume with Safaricom Telecommunications Ethiopia, which announced earlier this year that it will begin a phased commercial launch this month after missing its April 2022 start date.