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Safaricom’s plan to name new CEO dashed by Collymore’s sudden death



Safaricom had already settled on an outsider to replace Bob Collymore and was preparing to make the announcement but the plan was scuttled by his sudden death.

Insiders say the firm was going to unveil a new boss before the end of the month, and was preparing to lift the remaining hurdle of convincing the government to accept its candidate.

“That plan died with Bob. There was going to be a new CEO by the end of this month,” a source familiar with the succession intrigues said.

Should the firm fail to have its way, it could confirm Michael Joseph as its substantive chief executive in order to buy more time to deal with the succession headache.

Succession intrigues at the firm began last year after a board meeting at the head office in


Immediately the shortlist was finalised, the directors of the firm listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) started receiving calls.

Sources said the calls came from a State House operative, who was keen to “remind them” to stick to Kenya’s position on the matter.

Before the phone calls, the firm, the most profitable private company in East Africa, had narrowed down to potential successors and the directors were scheduled to vote on the most suitable candidate.

But the process was not entirely in line with an agreement Kenya had with the firm’s largest shareholder — United Kingdom’s Vodafone — on who was to have the final say when the time came to replace Mr Collymore.

The Safaricom board meets at least four times a year. Before each meeting, comprehensive board papers are prepared and circulated to all the directors for all substantive agenda items at least two weeks early.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I was also diagnosed with Cancer before Collymore took over Safaricom, Michael Joseph opens up

This allows them time to review board documents to facilitate effective discussions. The submissions and notification period may be waived should an urgent or critical matter arise within the two weeks before the meeting.

Before 2017, the appointment of the firm’s CEO and the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) was the preserve of Vodafone Group PLC, which owned a 40 per cent stake through Vodafone Kenya Limited (VKL), a company registered in Nairobi.

But in 2017, Vodafone wanted to sell 87.5 per cent of its shares to its South African subsidiary, Vodacom. This represents a 35 per cent stake in Safaricom. But the government of Kenya would have none of it.

It blocked the deal until the firm accepted to make some concessions on the ultimate decision making at the firm, given that, broken down and without combining their stakes, Vodacom would own 35 per cent, equal to what the Kenyan government held. Its parent would then be left with 5 per cent.

But that is not how companies work. In times of making decisions, parents and their subsidiaries are always treated as one entity, and this meant that the British firm still controlled the 40 per cent stake through South Africa.

But its shareholding structure remained the same in its books.

Vodafone Kenya Ltd remained with 40 per cent, remaining the top shareholder. The second is the government of Kenya, which owns 35 per cent, while thousands of retail and institutional investors listed at the NSE own the remaining 25 per cent.

READ ALSO:   Safaricom best employer in Africa

Despite being a private company, Safaricom had become too important to the country’s

national security that the government wanted to make sure it had a say on important national interests. The National Treasury had already flagged its successful mobile money platform, M-Pesa, as a potential risk to the economy, if it collapsed or something were to happen to it.

But Vodafone was looking at a different set of risks, should the government have its way. Besides qualifications, the firm identified political risks as one of its major considerations in sourcing for its next chief executive.

Divisive politics have come with big risks to its business, and it needs to settle on a candidate seen as neutral, who will not be controlled by the State during elections. But desperate to sell, the Vodafone Group took a step back and reluctantly agreed to the conditions.

This set in motion some of the events that would see the company amend its articles of association at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in September, 2017.

One of the changes ratified was to expound the definition of Vodafone Kenya Limited (VKL), to include its subsidiary or its holding company or any subsidiary of such a holding company, notwithstanding that VKL may change its name from time to time. It also made changes to its boardroom size. Unless and until determined by a special resolution of the company, the number of directors (excluding alternates) shall not be fewer than seven or more than 10. This includes the independent, non-executive directors who must be Kenyans.

READ ALSO:   FULL VIDEO: In case you missed Bob Collymore's memorial service, here it is in its entirety

Predominantly Kenyan character

However, it is the third amendment that will have the biggest bearing on who calls the final shot. The firm said that, for a number of important matters, among them the appointment of its CEO and chief finance officer, such a resolution would only pass if it got more than 75 per cent of directors’ votes. What this meant was that without the votes of the directors representing the Kenya government, it would be impossible for Vodacom to have its way on the board.

In another resolution that anticipated the latest developments, the company asked shareholders to allow the board of directors to appoint one of its members to the office of managing director or manager “for such period and on such terms and with such powers, and at such remuneration as they may think fit”.

This came in handy last week, when the firm appointed its former CEO, Mr Michael Joseph, who was serving on its board, to the position of interim chief executive.

The AGM also passed a resolution that the “directors shall encourage the retention of a predominantly Kenyan character in the senior management and executive committees of the company”. It also scrapped the position of the ‘deputy chairman’ and all references to the term in the company’s articles of association. Instead, it passed the amendment that the directors may elect a chairman for their meetings, who shall be a Kenyan, and determine the period for which they are to hold office.

Source:Daily Nation

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Optiven begins USA Summer Tour 2019 To Empower And Partner With Kenyans



Optiven USA Tour July 2019: Optiven has embarked on a month-long mission in the USA.
“We are empowering and partner with  Kenyans in the USA to help them create wealth back at home and share investment opportunities in the vibrant real estate market,” says Mr George Wachiuri, the Group’s CEO.
The Team is in the USA this Summer.
If you are in Harrisonburg VA , Richmond VA, Baltimore MD, St Louis  MO, Boston MA, Seattle WA, you have an  opportunity to interact and invest through this award-winning real estate company.

Optiven USA July Tour


Harrisonburg VA for  the KCFA Conference  (July 4th-7th)

Special Title Presentation by Optiven
Time: Full Day

Baltimore MD July 6th– 10th 2019.


During the Annual Independence Day
Special  Title Presentation by Optiven
Time:Full Day
Venue: Grace Quarters Rd, Middle Rivers 21220 MD

Richmond, VA July 7th-10th,2019

Special Dinner and Title Presentation by Optiven

 Venue: Embassy Suites   By Hilton 2925 Emerywood Pkwy Richmond VA 23294

St Louis, MO July 12th- 17th, 2019

Special Dinner and Title Presentation by Optiven
Venue:Best Western Inn St Louis 6224,Heimos Industrial Park Dr, St Louis.

Boston, MA July 19th-24th, 2019

Special Dinner and Title Presentation by Optiven
Venue: Hyatt Place Boston /Braintree 50 Forbes Rd, Braintree, MA 02184

Seattle, WA July 27th-31st, 2019

Special Dinner and Title Presentation by Optiven
Venue:Comfort Inn Federal Way 31622 Pacific  Hwy S, Federal Way, WA 98003
Optiven is available for one on one in all stations. All Dinners fully paid by Optiven as you witness the presentation of title deeds.
Contact George or Stephen at +254 713 588 899 or +254 708188671
More details on our website

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WACHIURI: Top 5 Tips On How To Positively Dominate And Influence




When we were created, we were empowered with an astonishing capacity to positively dominate and influence the World. The world could be your career, your business, your life, your family or whatever is around your environment.

Here in Kenya, we have witnessed successful companies such as Optiven Group dominating the real estate market in such a big way, to an extent of being singled out by the London Stock Exchange as one of the top companies that will influence Africa in the year 2019. We have also witnessed individuals who have truly taken charge of what they do. These are people such as the late Mother Teresa, who influenced the humanitarian field in a big way; the late Prof. Wangari Maathai, who took charge of environmental protection with such zeal, that she even picked a Nobel Peace Prize for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace. We have great people such as Manu Chandaria and George Wachiuri who have demonstrated a notable passion for philanthropy works in Kenya.

So, how can you up your dominance level, to be at par with such great people who have continued to leave a positive mark on their areas of specialty?

READ ALSO:   VIDEO: I was also diagnosed with Cancer before Collymore took over Safaricom, Michael Joseph opens up

Here are some tips on how you can get to the next level:


  1. Know and demonstrate your strength: You must explore your abilities and maximize on them. No one will tell you about your strength. Take charge of your life and move to influence the world.
  2. Develop a Skill: Anyone without a skill in today’s world is like a blind man who is not trained on how to walk. Learn a skill and let the world know that you have it. Once the world has known, you will be paid for it. Just start learning today!
  3. Never stop fighting for the life you want: It is that simple, gold is not collected like gravel, you have to dig down and after that, you will still need to melt it. Work on your life and use it to influence the world. Just stop being lazy and toxic to yourself. Be positive and influence the world.
  4. Use team work in order to excel: One hand is limited and many hands make the work lighter. Work to develop your followers to be leaders. Collaboration works magic. Work with others and influence the world in a much larger scale.
  5. Maintain Key social bonds: Develop a habit of supporting others. If you support someone today, there are 95% chances that the person will stand with you when you need them.
READ ALSO:   VIDEO: Jeff Koinange reveals the last thing Bob Collymore told him 2 days before his demise

Go forth now, dominate and influence your world positively.

Thoughts by: George Wachiuri: A Leading Entrepreneur, a Published Author, Philanthropist, Youth Empowerment Enthusiast, a Family man and CEO of Optiven Group

Contact Optiven Group:0723 400 500 Email:
George Wachiuri

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Push to end US cocoa imports tied to forced child labour



US law gives Customs officials the authority to block the importation of goods produced by forced labourers, and the senators wrote that there is “overwhelming evidence” to justify the use of that authority with regard to cocoa from Ivory Coast, the world’s leading producer.

The letter cited a June story in The Washington Post that detailed the use of child labour on that country’s cocoa farms, and the failure of the world’s largest chocolate companies to fulfil a promise to eradicate the practice from its supply chains by 2005.

Blocking cocoa from the Ivory Coast, as well as the chocolate produced from it, would have broad effects on the US chocolate and cocoa industry. Ivory Coast produces roughly a third of the world’s supply.

“Given the prevalence of forced child labour in the Ivory Coast’s cocoa sector, it is clear at least some, if not a significant portion of those imports, were produced with forced child labour,” according to the letter from Mr Brown. “It is time the US took more aggressive action to combat forced child labour in the cocoa sector.”

In addition, the letter said, authorities should pursue a criminal investigation into the importation of cocoa products tainted by forced child labour.

READ ALSO:   Safaricom best employer in Africa

Legislators have struggled for years to block imported goods that have been produced by forced labour. A longstanding law enabled Customs agents to block such imports, but an exemption allowed their importation if the goods could not be obtained elsewhere.

Mr Brown and Mr Wyden successfully pushed legislation in 2015 to close that loophole, and anti-slavery and labour rights groups in recent years have been pushing Customs officials to use their strengthened authority.

Some of the world’s largest chocolate companies— including Mars, Nestle and Hershey — promised in 2001 to eradicate child labour from their supply chains.

But the practice persists throughout West Africa. A study sponsored by the US Department of Labour in 2015 reported that more than two million children were working on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

“There’s a good case that there continues to be forced child labour in West African cocoa,” said Judy Gearhart, director of the International Labour Rights Forum, which in 2002 sought a similar investigation of cocoa. “It’s absolutely the case that Customs should be investigating this. It would push forward more effective programmes to ensure that there’s no forced child labour.”

Child labour in Ghana and Ivory Coast has been blamed on the poverty of cocoa farmers, and in recent weeks, the national governments of those countries

READ ALSO:   EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Bob Collymore reveals what makes Safaricom successful

announced measures that would demand higher prices for the world’s big cocoa and chocolate companies. Government officials say higher prices will boost farmer incomes, reduce the incidence of child labour and give West African farmers a more equitable cut of global chocolate profits.

The imbalance between the global profits of the chocolate companies and the poverty of the farmers amounts to a “manifest injustice,” Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said last month. “We will not continue to be victims or pawns of the global cocoa industry that is dependent on the work of our farmers.”

By The East African

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