Profile of newly appointed Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa

He is married with one child

A file photo of Peter Ndegwa (left) during his reign as CEO of Guiness Nigeria

The newly appointed Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa, is a man of many firsts.

When he finally takes over as Safaricom CEO in April 2020, he will become the first Kenyan to head the most profitable company in East and Central Africa.

But this is not the first time Peter Ndegwa will be breaking the glass ceiling. In 2018, he became the first African to head Diageo’s business operations in continental Europe and Russia – with a headquarter in the Hague, Netherlands.

An alumnus of the highly reputed Starehe Boys Centre, Ndewa holds an MBA from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi.

As a fresh graduate, he was picked by PWC where he served various position until 2004 – with a two-year hiatus to get his MBA.

He joined EABL in 2004 where he started out as head of strategy before rising to become the sales director.

His is credited as some executives who developed Senator keg – a low cost beer that has since become one of Kenya’s and Diageo’s most popular products.

It has led to a strong partnership with the Kenyan government and created a viable entry level beer which reduces the consumption of illicit brews, increases local raw material use and boosts job creation. As a result, it was recently featured in the Harvard Business Review,” Safaricom Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a said in the statement announcing Peter Ndegwa’s appointment.

Impressed by his achievements, Diageo (which has a controlling stake in EABL), appointed Peter to head two of its largest markets - Ghana and Nigeria.

He started out as CEO of Guiness Ghana Plc before moving to Nigeria Guiness Plc in 2015 -at a time when the Nigerian economy was falling.

I was charged with the role of transforming a declining business back to growth. It was a time of great volatility because the oil prices shocks had pushed the economy into a near collapse,” he said in a past interview.

In a period of three years, he turned around the company's performance with the company’s share price rising by up to 50 per cent. It is a performance that earned him the reputation of a corporate turnaround genius and ultimately his promotion to the head of Diageo's operations in Europe.

He is inspired by Starehe Boys founder, Dr Geoffrey Griffin, who emphasized to his students the need for service to society.

Peter Ndegwa says his attitude towards business is that organisations have a duty to make a positive difference in people’s lives.

“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,” Ndegwa says.

Peter Ndegwa is married with one child.

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