How Telkom can gain an edge after rebrand

The unveiling of Telkom Kenya’s new corporate identity at Radisson Blu hotel in Nairobi on June 6, 2017. PHOTO | SAATON NJAU | NMG
The unveiling of Telkom Kenya’s new corporate identity at Radisson Blu hotel in Nairobi on June 6, 2017. PHOTO | SAATON NJAU | NMG  

The purse from London- based private equity firm Helios Investment Partners buyout of the stake Orange had in Telkom Kenya, seems to have been put to good use.

Keen to rise from its perceived slumber and coming from a recent brand refresh, Telkom Kenya is poised to shake things up in the telecommunications sector, a move clearly shown by the slew of new products and competitive attendant pricing. Under the old management, company culture suffered in many ways.

Genuine camaraderie and drive lacked among the ranks, fuelled by a number of factors ranging from perceived human resource imbalance on the compensation front, skewed contracting on critical business elements, bureaucracy and the obvious assault from competitors.

Second quarter sector statistics by the Communications Authority 2016/2017 showed Telkom Kenya as having 7.4 per cent market share, third after Safaricom's #ticker:SCOM 71.2 and Airtel’s 17.6. Quite a way to go to close the gap meaningfully.

Flush with cash, the head hunting began to infuse fresh blood and rejig in the ranks, with a commendable marshalling of generals who would lead the new face of Telkom Kenya with a thinner hierarchy.


The choice of Aldo Mareuse for CEO is quite interesting as his previous role of industry advisor at Helios and a profile that reads “…led transformation of a small cap regional operator into a multibillion dollar global telecom business and drove business performance through extensive financial control over 15 various subsidiaries,” points to a man recruited for a mission to preserve and grow the purse from his former station; in essence to ink the deal and make it work.

Sundararaman Pattabiraman - CFO, Amer Atwi - Managing Director of Mobile Division, Kebaso George Mokogi - Managing Director of Carrier Services Division, Anne Njeri Nyagah - Head of Customer Care and Kris Senanu - Managing Director of Enterprise Division close off the c-suite.

With two fixes applied — culture and HR, the third remains that of a smart execution of strategy that should steer clear of price wars, but instead build defensive value propositions that will resonate with customers.

Perhaps most important would be to have singular focus on areas that others are yet to stamp authority in such as the network of things and the SMB segment, where average return per user per month would be several percentiles higher than the current network of people, leading to a better customer lifetime value.

It’s your move Telkom.