Sylvia Mulinge, the former Safaricom’s Director of Consumer Business has been re-appointed to the company as Director of Special Projects, a new position which industry insiders say has been specifically created as a response to increased competition which is eroding Safaricom’s market share. Safaricom’s CEO Bob Collymore in a memo stated Sylvia Mulinge has been reappointed effective October 1st.
Sylvia Mulinge left the position in April this year when Vodacom appointed her Managing Director for its Tanzania subsidiary, Vodacom Tanzania, a position she failed to fill due to unresolved work permit issues in the country.
“In this [new] role she will report directly to me, and will be responsible for spearheading our commercial revival and help us deliver our strategy and transform Safaricom into a business that is fit for the future,” said Mr Collymore in the memo.
In her new role, Ms Mulinge is expected to help win back customers’ trust, whilst working hand in hand with the CEO. It has been reported that Safaricom has been losing customers as a result of alleged internally instigated security breaches that have resulted in customers losing money and trust. Separately, new market entrants like Equitel are making inroads having transacted 20% of the Ksh 2.4 trillion (US$23 B) mobile money transactions made in the first eight months of 2018.
“In the immediate short term, Sylvia will be working with the commercial teams to restore customer trust and loyalty as we prepare for Safaricom’s coming of age as we celebrate our 18th anniversary which will be marked on 23rd October 2018,” said the CEO.
The new appointment comes barely four weeks of Vodacom appointment of Mr. Hisham Hendi, as acting Managing Director as the onboarding process of Sylvia Mulinge’s work permit was being resolved. But this came to pass as the Tanzanian government refused to issue a work permit to Ms Mulinge, citing that there were capable Tanzanians who could also take up the position.
This hardline position has left many Kenyans doubting Tanzania’s commitment to the East African Community integration policies, that advocate for free movement of labour and capital.