Michael Joseph: This is why I was appointed interim Safaricom CEO


Michael Joseph: This is why I was appointed interim Safaricom CEO
Kenya Airways Board Chairman Michael Joseph during a past interview. PHOTO | COURTESY

In Summary

  • This comes following mixed reactions among Kenyans on social media following the news with many questioning why the company’s board did not settle on a Kenyan national for the post.
  • Michael stated that he was selected because officials currently serving in various senior capacities at the company and who many Kenyans feel should have been promoted are not ready to fill in Collymore’s shoes at the moment.

Safaricom PLC interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Joseph has finally come out to speak on why he was appointed to the position following the demise of Bob Collymore.

This comes after mixed reactions among Kenyans on social media following the news with many questioning why the company’s board did not settle on a Kenyan national for the post.

However, speaking during an interview with K24 TV on Tuesday evening, Michael stated that he was selected because officials currently serving in various senior capacities at the company and whom many Kenyans feel should have been promoted are not ready to fill in Collymore’s shoes at the moment.

According to MJ, as he is popularly referred to, “at this point we (board) thought that none of them was ready for this role today.”

The American, while insisting that his role is only on a caretaker basis, however exuded confidence at the fact that he was coming in to an all too familiar position hence is well capable of steering the company in the right path.

“Safaricom has always been my company, it’s always been my baby; I nurtured it upto when I handed over to Bob. Now I’m just looking after it for a while, like a grandparent looking after the grandchild, until we appoint somebody else,” he stated.

“It’s not something new for me, I’m not having to start afresh, I’m well prepared for the role; but I must emphasise it is temporary.”

The Kenya Airways Board Chairman further revealed that the search for a successor to Collymore, whose term was initially set to end in August 2019, began 18 months ago but stalled due to demands and pressure from various corners.

“It was a worldwide search, including people in Kenya. And eventually we came to a very short list, we came to a decision but we didn’t execute it because there was a concern as to whether the successor to Bob should be a Kenyan or not,” he said.

“And because there was some question about that, we decided to put it on hold for a while, and that’s why we asked Bob to stay for another year while we thought about how we could do it.”

Michael also heaped praises on the deceased Safaricom boss saying he embraced his role as CEO when he was appointed 10 years ago, “grew into it and took it to another level.”

He added that their friendship and bond grew stronger while Collymore was receiving treatment for his cancer in London.

“We spent a lot of time together, much more than when he was CEO and we would just talk about the company. I spent hours with him talking about life, death, and we became very close,” he said.

MJ further stated that he would not relinquish his seat as Kenya Airways Board Chairman saying his appointment at Safaricom is only temporary and will only take “a day, a week, or even a month.”

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Story By Ian Omondi
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