Telkom Kenya manager leaves amid push for Treasury bail-out
Posted Wednesday, March 21 2012 at 20:23
France Telecom has firmed its grip on Telkom Kenya’s management by scrapping the senior-most position held by a Kenyan even as it seeks Sh10 billion from taxpayers locally.
The restructuring has seen the exit of Jane Karuku who held one of the two deputy managing director positions. Bruno Allassonniere held the other.
“I have had two deputy CEOs; one has left and I am not going to replace her because we have scrapped that post. The second one will stay until 2013 or probably longer,” said Telkom CEO Mickael Ghossein on Wednesday.
Ms Karuku — who is currently serving notice — is a former Cadbury Kenya CEO.
Besides supervising the three heads of departments, Ms Karuku’s responsibilities also included supervising government relations.
The move now leaves only one Kenyan, Angela Mumo, who heads the corporate communications docket, in the executive management team dominated by five officials seconded by France Telecom.
The five are Mr Ghossein, Mr Allassonniere; Yvan Ridard (head of finance), Allain Bridard (head of IT&N) and Laurent Giraud, the head of Wholesale.
Mr Ghossein said the heads of human resource, corporate communications and legal and regulatory departments who previously reported to Ms Karuku will now report directly to him.
“The restructuring has nothing to do with what is appearing in the press (referring to the company’s financial position as reported by our sister publications, the Daily Nation on Wednesday and the current issue of The EastAfrican), but are meant to cut the level of reporting structure that we had,” said Mr Ghossein.
Telkom Kenya created the two posts of deputies in July 2010 in what it said was alignment of its operations with France Telecom-Orange and also to ensure that Telkom Kenya, under its Orange commercial brand, sharpens focus on key business areas.
Mr Ghossein will now handle all the government relations at a time when Telkom Kenya is asking Sh10 billion from the Treasury to pay it debts and remain afloat.
Ms Karuku’s exit comes hot on the heels of that of another key staff member, Stephen Kipttiness, who left the firm at the beginning of the year.
Until January, Mr Kipttiness was the head of regulatory affairs. His position was taken over by Agnes Okelo.
In 2011, the firm made a loss of Sh18.2 billion after making sales of Sh9.2 billion and is reported to be servicing loans worth Sh51 billion.
The firm operates a fixed-line monopoly that has suffered immensely from vandalism while its other area of dominance, the fixed wireless, appears to have lost in strategic importance to focus on mobile phones.