Safaricom (NSE: SCOM) board has appointed Michael Joseph as the next Chairman of Safaricom’s Board of Directors following the retirement of current chairman Mr. Nicholas Nganga after serving for 16 years on the Board of which 13 he served as the chairman.
Michael has been serving as non-executive board member since 2008.
Michael Joseph, “It is an honor to serve as the next 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 13 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 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 in 2008. He has managed to grow shareholder value by 607% of share total shareholder returns since listing. Safaricom market capitalization at KES 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 6 million customers, 1,000 employees and only 8 Safaricom shops across the country. Mr. Nganga retires from the telco that now serves over 35.6 million customers, across 50 shops and hundreds of service desks across the country, with a staff force of over 6,500 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 KES 1B in 2007. In his last financial year as chairman, Safaricom announced investment of KES 36B to expand its network coverage. Safaricom 4G coverage covers more than 77% of the population while 3G 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 the dividend payout of KES 1.40 per share, up from KES 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 KES56.09 billion will be paid out to shareholders with the Government of Kenya expected to receive KES19.63 billion. In 2019, the company issued a special dividend of KES0.62per share bringing the total dividend issued to shareholders of KES 1.87, amounting to KES74.92 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 even as we come up with ways to ensure we support them post COVID-19,” said Mr. Nganga.