The Safaricom PLC Board of Directors on Thursday, October 2019, resolved to appoint Peter Ndegwa the company's Chief Executive Officer effective April 1, 2020.
Ndegwa will be joining the telco company from Diageo, a global leader in the alcoholic beverages business, where he is currently serving as Managing Director of Continental Europe.
In his current role, he oversees business operations in 50 countries in Western and Eastern Europe, as well as Russia, the Middle East and North Africa region.
He was appointed to the role in July 2018, becoming the first African to run a large business for Diageo outside of Africa. In his time in Continental Europe, Ndegwa has been credited 'for transformational change and delivering significant results.
Prior to this, Peter led two of Diageo’s biggest businesses on the continent, Guinness Ghana Breweries Plc and Guinness Nigeria.
He 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 and 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 returned to Nairobi in 2002, where he worked on several significant corporate advisory assignments - providing strategic transaction advice, due diligence, valuation, financial planning and modelling, and significant project leadership and management - mostly in the financial services sector.
In 2004, Peter joined East African Breweries (EABL), a Diageo subsidiary based in Nairobi, as the strategy director. In this role, he led the NSE-listed beer manufacturer in shaping a five-year strategy. This included the development of an affordable-beer strategy which saw the creation of Senator Keg.
"Senator Keg has gone on to become one of Kenya’s and Diageo’s most iconic beer brands. 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," a statement from the telco reads.
During that period, Peter also led significant business development agendas including the acquisition of Serengeti Breweries Limited, a major subsidiary in Tanzania, and unwound a complex shareholding structure with SAB Miller (now ABI) in both Kenya and Tanzania.
He left EABL in October 2011, starting an eight-year sojourn away from Kenya to Diageo subsidiaries: Guinness Ghana Breweries plc and Guinness Nigeria Plc both of which he led as CEO.
In Nigeria, he helped transform the business - at a time when the country was facing economic challenges due to declining oil prices. His efforts resulted in a 40 percent recovery in the share price. He left Nigeria for his current role in Europe in July 2018.
In his career spanning over 25 years, Peter has demonstrated the 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.
Beyond championing talent development, he has also enabled a range and depth of investment in water and environment programmes.
Following the appointment as CEO of Safaricom PLC, Peter will return to Nairobi. Peter is married with one child.
He 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).
“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," Peter Ndegwa stated.