Telecoms operator Safaricom on Monday announced the appointment of its director for consumer business, Sylvia Mulinge, to the position of managing director at Vodacom, Tanzania.
Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said in a circular to staff that Ms Mulinge will take over from the current head of the Tanzania business, Ian Ferrao, on June 1.
Mr Collymore said Ms Mulinge had, for the 10 years she has worked for Safaricom, showed outstanding leadership abilities that helped to successfully steer the company through difficult times.
“Throughout her 17-year career she has built a reputation as one of Kenya’s outstanding business leaders, a mentor and go-getter, qualities that we at Safaricom have benefited greatly from and will deeply miss,” he said.
Ms Mulinge is credited with overseeing the growth of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed telecoms operator’s enterprise business, spearheading its reorganisation strategy and early spotting of industry trends such as customer segmentation that enabled Safaricom to deliver a range of customer-focused products and services.
Safaricom has, since its listing in March 2007, grown to become a giant technology company with annual revenues in excess of Sh200 billion, and the enterprise business that Ms Mulinge runs has also expanded steadily to account for more than a quarter of the total revenues.
The company, which was founded at the turn of the century, has become a corporate colossus in East Africa and is one of the firms that have helped put Kenya on the global map as a technology-savvy economy.
Most recently, for instance, Safaricom has provided over 80 per cent of Kenya’s population with high-speed 4G and 3G wireless Internet access — which has spawned innovation in multiple sectors of the economy.
Compared to Safaricom, Vodacom Tanzania is a modest operation with 12 million subscribers and nearly eight million M-Pesa customers. The company has 546 employees and controls 39 per cent of Tanzania’s telecoms market.
Ms Mulinge joined Safaricom from Unilever in February 2006 and rose to the position of director, consumer business in March 2015.
Mr Collymore said Charles Wanjohi will replace Ms Mulinge as director, consumer business unit — on interim basis — reporting to the chief executive.