Safaricom silent as two more staff exits fuel speculation


Safaricom’s corporate affairs director Nzioka Waita: The gentlemen in question tendered their resignations this week. PHOTO | FILE

Safaricom on Wednesday remained tight-lipped on reasons behind the resignation of two more top executives, just days after the exit of two others last Friday.

The telecommunications firm on Wednesday confirmed the resignations of Morris Maina, head of content and internet and Timothy Nderi, the head of contact centre.

CEO Bob Collymore on Friday announced the exits of Peter Arina, the general manager consumer business and Pauline Warui, the director consumer services.

The four exits in less than a week have triggered speculation of a possible management fallout or a quiet executive shake-up in the region’s biggest and most profitable company.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the specifics as to why they opted to leave the organisation. It is correct that the gentlemen in question tendered their resignations this week,” said Safaricom’s corporate affairs director Nzioka Waita in a response to the Business Daily queries. 

The company, however, said the senior staff departures have nothing to do with a reported rigging of Safaricom online customers competition earlier this month.

On the reported rigging of the promotion, Safaricom admitted that “the social media activation was compromised by one or possibly several tech-savvy individuals who deployed ‘internet bots’ to increase their chances of winning in the competition”.

Mr Waita, however, said Safaricom staff were not involved in the scam.

“Please let us not confuse issues, our staff have never been involved in rigging competitions,” said Mr Waita.

While announcing the exit of Mr Arina and effecting a reshuffle of its senior management last week, Mr Collymore attributed the exits to “an appreciation that we as a business have become disconnected from our customers’ needs at various levels”.

READ: Safaricom restructures top level management, Peter Arina and Pauline Warui exit

Sylvia Mulinge was the biggest beneficiary of the Friday shake-up, taking over as general manager for consumer business, a position that Mr Arina held for 11 years.

Rita Okuthe was moved from her role as director of marketing to take over the position of general manager enterprise business, a position that was previously held by Ms Mulinge.

The business units on their own generate billions of shillings of Safaricom’s annual revenue.

“These changes are necessary for us to be truly reflective of the demands of our customers and to prepare ourselves for the heightened competitive environment in which we are operating,” said Mr Collymore on Friday.

More heads of departments were also affected in the changes that saw Janet Atika move from her role as head of retail shop footprint to take charge of the customer management team.

James Muteti was promoted to head consumer sales, while Victor Ngumo was put in charge of retail both reporting to the general manager, consumer business.

Arjun Singh Dhillon took up the combined role of head of SME and channels, reporting to the general manager enterprise business.

Eric Acholla was put in charge of coordinating the activities of all shared marketing services which include brand, media, research, events, sponsorships and activations.

Mr Acholla will report to the enterprise business general manager, while all marketing product managers will report to the GM consumer business.

READ ALSO: Safaricom board silent as CEO Collymore’s contract runs out.