Stephen Kiptinness takes over from Steve Chege as Joe Ogutu finally retires from Safaricom




Safaricom has announced a series of organisational changes, including the retirement of long-serving Executive Committee (ExCo) member Joe Ogutu. Also announced was the replacement of departing Steve Chege with Stephen Kiptinnes in the Corporate Affairs department.

In a statement, the telco’s CEO Peter Ndegwa said that Joe Ogutu, who holds the position of Chief of Special Projects and Acting Chief Business Development & Strategy Officer, would retire at the end of this month.

“I would like to bring to your attention the retirement of our long serving Exco member and a dear colleague to us all. After 17 years of service, Joe Ogutu, our Chief of Special Projects and Acting Chief Business Development & Strategy Officer, will be retiring at the end of this month,” said Ndegwa. “Over the last 2 years, I have had the pleasure of working closely with Joe and I have come to rely on his advice, candid feedback, and support.”

Ogutu has held several roles since joining Safaricom in May 2005 from Telkom Kenya as Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. In 2008, he was appointed to serve as Chief Human Resource Officer before taking on the role of Director – Resources, following a reorganization in March 2011.

In October 2012, he was appointed Director of Strategy & Innovation, a role which saw him work closely with the CEO in formulating the strategic direction of the business with a focus on developing Safaricom’s position as an industry leader in driving innovation in products and services.

“In his current role as Chief Special Projects and Acting Chief Business Development Officer, he was part of the team that coordinated the company’s successful bid for the second telecommunications license in Ethiopia. He also effectively steered the company alongside our former CFO, Sateesh Kamath, when the late Bob Collymore was on medical leave, and has been the Chairman of Safaricom Foundation since 2012,” noted Ndegwa.

Ogutu’s experience in the communications industry spans more than 35 years, the last 20 of which have been at Executive Committee level. He is accredited with, among many other achievements, being actively involved in reforming of the telecommunications sector and establishing the institutional framework for the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy).

Throughout his career, and the 17 years he has been at Safaricom, he has built a reputation as an outstanding business leader, mentor and coach to many; qualities that we at Safaricom have benefitted greatly from.

“The hallmark of Joe’s career and contribution to the success of Safaricom was his absolute willingness to step into an unexpected role whenever requested, even if it meant stretching his workload tremendously. All the CEOs of Safaricom, from Michael, to Bob through to myself, relied on Joe in many situations and he never failed to live up to our expectations,” added Ndegwa.

After his departure, Ogutu will still continue to serve as the Chairman of Safaricom Foundation where he has been instrumental in driving partnerships that transform the lives of millions of people and enable communities to be self-sufficient.

To support delivery of mission 2 and in line with its vision to be a purpose-led technology company, deliver new growth areas, establish a fit for future organisation, and navigate the regulatory landscape to enable its operations, Safaricom has named Stephen Kiptinness as the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer effective May 1, 2022, subject to relevant regulatory approvals. 

Stephen Kiptinnes (pictured) will effectively replace Steve Chege who moved on to take on a new role as the Vodacom Group’s Chief External Affairs Officer in mid November last year.

In his new position, Kiptinnes will be responsible for the organisation’s reputation management, public policy, legal and regulatory affairs. He will also steer the development and implementation of Safaricom’s corporate investment strategy as well as oversee our internal and external communications. He will also lead the development of a roadmap that will embed purpose in everything we do at Safaricom and among our stakeholders.

Kiptinnes brings on board more than 27 years of cumulative legal experience. He joins the telco from Kiptinness & Odhiambo Associates where he was a Senior Partner heading the Technology and Intellectual Property practice for the last 10 years. Before starting his practice, Stephen worked at Telkom Kenya Orange, heading Regulatory Affairs for 3 years, from 2009 to 2012.

Prior to his role at Telkom Orange, he held various legal roles including Legal Officer and subsequently Senior Legal Officer at the Communications Authority of Kenya, and Legal Manager at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, having commenced his legal career as a Trainee Advocate at Oraro & Co. Advocates. Kiptinnes also teaches at the University of Nairobi School of Law.

He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL. B Hons) from the ILS Law College, University of Pune, a Diploma in Computer Science, a Certificate in Human Resource Management, a Post graduate Diploma in Law and a Master of Laws (LL.M) in Information Technology & Telecommunications Law from the London School of Economics.

He is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a Member of the Law Society of Kenya and is a Certified Public Secretary with Institute of Certified Secretaries.

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