Safaricom taps US telco AT&T senior director as new enterprise manager


Safaricom has appointed AT&T director of IoT technologies Cynthia Karuri-Kropac as the new Chief Enterprise Business Officer effective September 1, to replace Joseph Wanjohi who has been acting since May.

Ms Karuri has worked at US telco AT&T Inc. for 19 years, serving in various management and leadership roles, Safaricom said on Wednesday.

The position fell vacant in May following the exit of Kris Senanu barely a year into the job.

"With over 20 years of experience in the telecommunications sector, Cynthia has a wealth of knowledge in various crafts, including business strategy, industrial IoT, enterprise technology solutions, executive advisory and decision support, operational excellence and process reengineering,” Safaricom said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Ms Karuri joins other new faces that have taken executive roles in the company in the last two years as the telco aims to enter new ventures to offset declining voice revenues.

More than half of Safaricom’s executives have quit the telco over the past two years, allowing CEO Peter Ndegwa who replaced Bob Collymore in April 2020 to build his own team.

Eight executives occupying the 11 C-suite seats at Safaricom have left during the period under review for roles outside the firm or at British Vodafone and South Africa’s Vodacom—which have a combined 40 percent stake in the Kenyan company.

This has allowed the firm to tap new skills in Kenya’s evolving telecoms market and shape the management in line with Mr Ndegwa’s strategy that seeks to maintain Safaricom’s profit trajectory.

Recent appointments at the firm point to a shift as the company targets new revenue streams and the growth of the mobile money platform.

Safaricom’s mobile money platform M-Pesa has overtaken voice to become the biggest revenue earner for the company.

Safaricom forecasts M-Pesa will account for half of its sales in the coming years as revenues from voice and SMS flatten. The service overtook voice in 2021 to become the single-largest business line after it posted sales of Sh107.7 billion or 36 percent of the telco's Sh298 billion total revenues.

The telco is seeking regulatory approvals to launch insurance, unit trust and savings products as it races for a larger piece of the financial services market and taps more earnings from mobile money platform M-Pesa.

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