How Peter Ndegwa is Transforming Safaricom and Empowering ...
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Profiles - August 12, 2023

How Peter Ndegwa is Transforming Safaricom and Empowering Africa’s Digital Future

Peter Ndegwa is an accomplished board-level executive, who is the CEO of Safaricom PLC, a renowned African communications company and the driving force behind M-PESA, the world’s most advanced mobile payment system. He’s the first Kenyan to head the company.

With an extensive background in general management, commercial and business strategy, sales, and finance operations, Peter has over 25 years of experience gained from diverse roles within the financial services and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors across Africa and Europe.

Before joining Safaricom, Peter spearheaded Diageo PLC’s operations across 50 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and North Africa. His leadership was instrumental in transforming the company’s performance and driving double-digit growth by implementing strategic investments, fostering a talented workforce, and revamping the businesses.

Peter’s track record of success extends beyond his tenure at Diageo. During his eight years at East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL), a subsidiary of Diageo, he held various senior executive director positions in Nairobi. His contributions as Group CFO, Group Strategy Director, Sales Director, and Executive Director on the EABL board played a crucial role in doubling the company’s value. Under his guidance, EABL also received the prestigious ‘Most Respected Business Award in East Africa’ for five consecutive years.

One of Peter’s notable achievements was the development of an affordable beer strategy for EABL, leading to the creation of popular brands like Senator beer, which became a standout innovation within Diageo. With a firm belief in prioritising customer needs, investing in talent, and driving operational excellence, Peter consistently delivers value to customers and executes strategic initiatives effectively.

Peter’s professional journey began at PwC, a global consulting firm, where he honed his skills for 11 years. He attributes his strong value system to his early upbringing, the influential figures he encountered, such as Dr Geoffrey Griffin, the late founder of Starehe Boys Centre, and his parents.

Peter holds an MBA from the London Business School and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK). Additionally, he holds directorship positions in various Safaricom Group subsidiaries, including DigiFarm Kenya Limited, Safaricom Money Transfer Services Limited, and M-PESA Africa Limited.

With the leadership of Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom Group is betting on success in this new market. Under Ndegwa’s visionary stewardship, the firm has witnessed a 3 per cent increase in its customer base, reaching over 43 million.

Ndegwa recognises the strong foundation established by his predecessors, the late Bob Collymore and Michael Joseph, who built Safaricom PLC with the purpose of Transforming Lives, a principle that has guided the company for over two decades. 

Customer obsession is a core value instilled by Ndegwa, who emphasises the importance of placing customers at the centre of the organisation’s focus. Continuing the legacy of Michael Joseph, Ndegwa ensures that all of Safaricom’s 6,000 employees practice customer-centricity daily by listening to customer feedback and collaborating to co-create improved solutions.

As a digital-first organisation, Safaricom takes the lead in introducing trailblazing 5G technology to the East African market. This milestone showcases the company’s forward-thinking approach and commitment to providing higher internet speeds, improved connectivity, and opportunities for innovation across industries. With the advent of 5G, Safaricom acknowledges the potential of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics, 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Threat Intelligence, which are all vital components as the world progresses toward the Internet of Things (IoT) era.

In addition to his leadership within the company, Ndegwa is passionate about supporting sports and education. He actively engages in diverse initiatives that empower young people and create opportunities for them, regardless of their background, throughout the country.

“Purpose puts people before profit. We have tested and proven it, and we are committed to continuing on this path,” says Peter. 

In less than three years since becoming CEO of Safaricom, Ndegwa’s leadership has come full circle. His capabilities and networking abilities were recognised when he was appointed Chairman of the National Drought Response Steering Committee in November 2022, a position that reflects the trust and confidence placed in him by Kenya’s private sector leadership. 

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