Safaricom has appointed John Ngumi as its new Board chairman, marking a new leadership at the telco, where it is wholly run by Kenyans.
Mr. Ngumi who had a 35-year banking career, has recently been actively involved in public institutions at the Board level. He has also been Board Director in both private companies and state-owned enterprises. For the latter, he is best known as the inaugural Board Chair at Konza Technopolis Development Authority, as an extremely active and effective Board Chair at Kenya Pipeline Company Limited, and currently serves as Board Chair at the Industrial & Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC), which is leading the effort to implement the Kenya Transport & Logistics Network, encompassing Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Pipeline Company Limited and Kenya Railways Corporation. He also serves on the Kenya Airways PLC Board.
“We can better ourselves and our circumstances, so let’s stop whining about past injustices, instead let’s focus on sorting out our problems and cease relying on foreigners, or on foreign aid, to do the job for us,” John Ngumi noted.
He is not new in the telecommunications sector. In 1998, partly as an outcome of having been involved in the work that led to the Kenya Communications Act, John was appointed a Director of the inaugural Board at the Communications Commission of Kenya (now Communications Authority). This Board presided over the unbundling of KPTC and, among other things, issued the inaugural operating licenses for Safaricom and Kencell.
John also led debt and derivatives transactions for Safaricom totaling Ksh30 billion, including Safaricom’s inaugural Ksh4 billion bond issue in 2001.
In addition to being an investment banking deal maker, John played key roles in developing Kenya’s capital markets as we know them today, including his leading role in the development of capital markets regulations
In March 2021 John was appointed Chair of a Presidential Taskforce on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to reviewing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between the Kenya Power & Lighting Company PLC and Independent Power Producers (IPPs), following a sustained public outcry that PPAs were skewed against KPLC, leading to unsustainably high consumer power tariffs. The Taskforce reported back to President Uhuru Kenyatta in September 2021 with a raft of wide-ranging and radical recommendations. Thereafter the President appointed John Chair of the Steering Committee charged with overseeing implementation of these recommendations. This Committee submitted its report at the end of June 2022. Currently, John is currently chairing the government team negotiating with IPPs on tariffs.
John believes robust and efficient financial services will be a key factor, hence his pivotal role in developing financial markets.