Kenya: Heads to Roll At Safaricom Under New Structure


All senior managers at mobile phone firm Safaricom are this week expected to make fresh applications for their jobs following a restructuring exercise that is expected to see some big heads roll. Currently all top positions at the firm, except that of chief executive officer Bob Collymore are vacant.

"The offices are vacant. They (senior managers) will be making fresh applications and talent will be placed where it is needed," said a source, whom we cannot name due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The letters are due to be looked at by the board and interviews carried out during the week to ensure continuity in service delivery at the operator. Dubbed the Safaricom 2.0, the new management team is expected to be fully in place beginning next month.

Collymore informed the staff on Thursday last week of the exercise, saying it is aimed at enabling the Nairobi Stock Exchange listed firm to meet its objectives. Analysts, however, view the move as meant to infuse a new management in line with  Collymore's style.

The CEO, who took over the seat on November 1, 2010 has done away with the title "chief" by which heads of department were addressed until last week and replaced it with "director." Among those in the spotlight in this new drive are previous heads of department Chris Tiffin, finance, Les Baillie, investor relations, and Francis Murabula, procurement. The three departments have been merged. Also on the radar are Ms Wangari Murugu, marketing and Ms Pauline Warui, customer service, whose departments have also been merged.

Robert Mugo, information, will have to battle it out with John Barorot, technical, for a new department, technical/information technology. Clare Ruto, corporate affairs, will try to capture the newly formed legal and external affairs, communication. The communications docket has been hived off to the marketing docket to form the new directorate. Joseph Ogutu, who has been heading the human resources docket, will be eyeing the new directorate of resources.

While Mr Collymore promised the redesign would not result in job losses, analysts will be quick to note that this is imminent. Word has it that the new structure will not be keen on retaining managers who have held their positions for "long enough."

According to the company’s's information memorandum to the NSE when it was raising its first tranche of the Sh12 billion bond, most of the managers were appointed to their positions after 2003.

Some joined the company at its inception in 2000 and rose through the ranks to become part of former CEO Michael Joseph's management team.