Safaricom taps investor relations executive for finance role

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa building his own team as he settles in and confronts a market battered by Covid-19 pandemic. Safaricom shares are under pressure currently. Ndegwa has picked Safaricom’s investor relations face Ilanna Darcy to fill vacant financial chief post.


Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa


Safaricom has picked Ilanna Darcy to replace Sateesh Kamath as its chief financial officer. Kamath was scheduled to leave at the start of this month after four years with Safaricom to rejoin the Vodafone Group, which is a large investor in Safaricom shares.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said that Ilanna Darcy will fill the CFO role temporarily as the company searches for a substantive finance boss. Darcy joined Safaricom in 2017 from a company called Digicel Group and has been serving as its head of investor relations. Darcy’s profileshows she has held CFO role before, meaning she would not struggle to deliver on her new position at Safaricom.
The exit of Kamath and the promotion of Ilanna Darcy signals shakeup of Safaricom’s executive suit as CEO Peter Ndegwa tries to build his own leadership team. Ndegwa took up the role of Safaricom CEO on April 1, becoming the telecom giant’s first Kenyan chief executive.
The appointment of investor relations executive Darcy to fill the CFO role is particularly telling. It seems intended to bolster investor confidence in Safaricom stock at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic has weighed on investor appetite for company stocks. As head of investor relations, Darcy has been responsible for helping investors understand Safaricom as an investment and generally marketing Safaricom stock to investors.
At Ksh28.70 a share as of July 1 closing, Safaricom stock is down about 9% so far this year. Generally, the stock market has seen widespread selling since Kenya began reporting Covid-19 cases in March. For example, the Nairobi All Share Index that tracks the Kenyan stock market is down 17% this year. The NSE 20-Share Index that tracks blue chip companies is down 26.6% this year. But even with the broad stock market weakness, Safaricom shares have risen about 7% since Peter Ndegwa became CEO.
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