Safaricom board has appointed Michael Joseph as the new chairman of Safaricom’s board of directors following the retirement of Nicholas Nganga. The latter served for sixteen years on the board of which thirteen he was the chairman. Michael has been serving as a non-executive board member since 2008.
“It is an honour to serve as the new chairman of a company that I am passionate about and have been involved with ever since its inception. It is with humility that I take over from Mr. Nganga, whose leadership, wisdom and guidance has led Safaricom to where it is in the thirteen years he has been the chairman of the board. As I take up the new role, I am optimistic of the great opportunities ahead to work with the board, Peter Ndegwa and the entire Safaricom team to continue to transform lives.”
Mr. Nganga took up the leadership reins at a time when the government was offering 25% of its shares to the public through the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in 2008. He has managed to grow shareholder value by 607% since listing. Safaricom market capitalization at Kshs. 1.075 trillion is worth 50% of all the listed firms on the NSE.
At the time of his appointment as chairman, Safaricom had slightly over six million customers, one thousand employees and only eight shops across the country. Mr. Nganga retires from the telco that now serves over 35.6 million customers, across fifty shops and hundreds of service desks across the country, with a staff force of over six thousand five hundred employees.
He led the board in overseeing the rapid network development in the country, having started with 3G upgrading on his appointment at a cost of Kshs. 1 billion in 2007. In his last financial year as the chairman, Safaricom announced an investment of Kshs. 36 billion to expand its network coverage. Safaricom’s 4G covers more than 77% of the population while 3G’s coverage is at 94% of the population.
“I am happy that I handover the leadership baton to Michael whose skills and energy I have had the chance to see and appreciate over the years. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, not just the board but also the shareholders and the company. Throughout the years, I am proud of the numerous moments that I have been involved in, steering and guiding this great organization to the enviable position it is today,” said Mr. Nganga.
During the 12th Annual General Meeting which was held virtually, the shareholders approved a dividend payout of Kshs. 1.40 per share, up from Kshs. 1.25 paid in 2019, for the financial year ending March 31, 2020. The disbursement, which is equivalent to 80 percent of its normalized earnings, is a 12% increase from last year.
A total of Kshs. 56.09 billion will be paid out to shareholders with the Government of Kenya expected to receive Kshs. 19.63 billion. In 2019, the company issued a special dividend of Kshs. 0.62 per share bringing the total amount of dividend paid to shareholders to Kshs. 74.92 billion. “As a purpose-driven business, Safaricom has been prioritizing support to small and medium-sized enterprises. We hope that the dividends they receive as shareholders will give the much-needed boost for their businesses during this difficult Covid-19 pandemic period ,” said Mr. Nganga.