Safaricom’s New CEO, Peter Ndegwa

Today, April 1st 2020, is day one on the job for Peter Ndegwa, the predecessor to the late Bob Collymore and Michael Joseph, at Kenya’s biggest telco, Safaricom PLC.

Mr. Ndegwa joins Safaricom PLC from Diageo PLC where he was the Managing Director of Diageo Continental Europe. The Business Strategy professional also brings with him over 25 years worth of experience in various roles within the Financial Services and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sectors in Africa and Europe.

In his previous role, Peter oversaw the operations of Diageo PLC in 50 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, Middle East and North Africa region. He had previously served for seven years as CEO in Guinness Nigeria PLC and Guinness Ghana Breweries PLC, where he transformed the two operations to deliver a double-digit growth by investing in people, introducing new brands and reorganising the businesses.

Prior to that, Peter served for eight years across a range of senior Executive Director roles at EABL (a Diageo subsidiary) based in Nairobi. Serving as the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Group Strategy Director, Sales Director, and as an Executive Director on the EABL Board, he was part of the team that saw the EABL business more than doubled in value – and winning the coveted Most Respected Business Award in East Africa for five years in a row.

Peter is credited with the development of an affordable-beer strategy for EABL resulting in the production of new brands such as Senator beer. Senator beer became one of the most successful innovations by Diageo that has been featured in the Harvard Business Review. He started his career at PwC, the global consulting firm, where he worked for 11 years.

On the announcement of his appointment back in October 2019, Peter was asked where he draws his inspiration from and what motivates him, and this is what he had to say:

“Instead of just looking at what governments can do, we need to acknowledge that large organisations can improve society and shift how people think and feel. For me, this is about working with others to build sustainable businesses that can make a difference in people’s lives.”

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Peter Ndegwa began his eleven-year career with global consulting firm PwC as a consultant, relocating to London, UK under the firm’s talent development programme in 1996. In 1999, he transitioned from the Accountancy practice to the Consulting & Corporate Finance Unit at PwC. After completing his MBA, Peter took on key assignments in corporate advisory and project management at leading European and American banks and insurance businesses.

He forrayed into Diageo thereafter, working in Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. His commitment to investing in people, introducing new brands and improving efficiency saw him grow each of those foreign businesses, despite the challenges they were facing. In Ghana, he led talks with the government leading to introduction of an affordable beer in the country, while in Nigeria, he helped transform the business – at a time when the country was facing economic challenges due to declining oil prices.

Safaricom PLC Chairman Nicholas Nganga had this to say, “In his career spanning over 25 years, Peter has demonstrated commitment to simplification of business process and on leadership and talent development has helped create a sustainable business for the future. This has not only resulted in a career decorated by new brands, but also winning accolades as an employer, manufacturer, purchaser and investor.

“Peter has also demonstrated commitment to sustainable business practices. Beyond championing talent development, he has also enabled a range and depth of investment in water and environment programmes.”

Peter holds an MBA from the London Business School and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi. He is also a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK). He is married with one child.