With New Board Chair Adil Khawaja, Safaricom Fully Replaces Bob Collymore’s Team

Adil Khawaja, Safaricom new Board Chairman

Lawyer Adil Khawaja has had an excellent working experience in Kenya’s leading companies.

Adil, who has since been appointed as telco Safaricom’s Board Chair, has had an extended career as a board member in multiple companies.

Prior to this appointment, Adil served in the same role at KCB bank.


Adil Khawaja started his professional journey as a partner at Hamilton Harris & Matthews (HHM) in 1994. He became the managing partner in May 2013.

HHM is considered to be the largest and oldest law firm in Kenya, boasting 13 partners, 40 associates, and over 80 legal assistants. It has a long history in the country, dating back to its inception in 1902.

In addition to his work at Hamilton Harris & Matthews, Adil also serves as a Director for Rhino Ark Charitable Trust since 2018. He further demonstrated his leadership skills by serving as Non-executive Director for CMC Motors from 2014.

Adil’s experience in the corporate sector is further evident from his time served as Non-executive Director for Kenya Power from 2014 to 2022.

He was also active in the insurance industry, serving as the Chairman of KCB Insurance Agency from 2017 to 2020.

He also held the position of Board chair of KCB from 2016 to 2020.

Adil joined KCB as a non-executive Director in 2012 and held the role until 2020. He was also a Trustee at KWS for three years, showcasing his ability to manage multiple responsibilities and perform well in diverse roles.

The exit of John Ngumi

Career investment banker John Ngumi was appointed as Safaricom’s Board Chairman after the exit of Michael Joseph.

Joseph had picked over from Nicholas Ng’anga’s, whose tenure at Kenya’s top telco had ended (he retired).

John Ngumi’s time with the telco was not as active as people had expected. He rarely made appearances during key announcements by the company. People noticed his absence when Safaricom commercially launched in Ethiopia. He also failed to make an appearance when Safaricom launched 5G services.

However, his first official presentation was made during the reveal of Safaricom’s Investor report towards the end of 2022.

The Kenya corporate world has also been seeing a lot of leadership changes following the start of the new administration after the August 2022 polls.

The Communications Authority of Kenya, for instance, replaced its board chairman, Gilbert Kibe with Mary Wambui Mungai.

Just like John Ngumi, Kibe’s tenure, which started during former President Kenyatta’s, was short-lived.

Adil is marked as the fifth board chairperson in the history of Safaricom, following in the footsteps of previous chairpersons Nicholas Nganga (13 years), Michael Joseph (who held the position twice), and Mr. Ngumi.

The exit of Safaricom Chiefs

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa began his term in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. He took over the position from Michael Joseph, who had previously succeeded Bob Collymore, who passed away in 2019.

Ndegwa reshuffled the company’s top leadership by bringing in a new executive team.

The first to depart was Chief Enterprise Business Officer Rita Okuthe, followed by CFO Sateesh Kamal, who took the same role at Vodafone Business.

Chief Corporate Affairs Steve Chege also left for Vodacom as Group Chief External Affairs Officer.

Joe Ogutu, who served as Chief Special Projects, retired from the company.

Kris Senanu, who took over from Rita Okuthe, also left Safaricom after a brief period.

Debra Mallowa, the Chief Development Officer, and Sylvia Mulinge, who was once projected to succeed Bob Collymore, both departed.

Mulinge now serves as CEO of MTN Uganda.