Safaricom has appointed Wim Vanhelleputte as the new CEO of its Ethiopian unit, effective September 1. This announcement comes just a week after the departure of Anwar Soussa, who had been in charge for two years.
Vanhelleputte’s primary responsibility will be to turn around the operations of Safaricom’s Ethiopian unit, which has been impacting the company’s profits. Safaricom reported a 22.2% drop in net profit for the year ending March 2023, largely due to increased operating expenses in Ethiopia.
Safaricom Ethiopia Officially started operations last year and now has four million customers and has expanded network coverage to more than 25% of the Ethiopian population in 50 cities and towns. Safaricom Ethiopia was also granted a mobile money license in May, after paying investment fees of $150 million.
Wim Vanhelleputte joins Safaricom from MTN Group, where he served as the operations executive since August of last year. In that role, he was responsible for the performance and governance of four operating companies in West and Central Africa.
Prior to his time at MTN Group, Vanhelleputte served as the CEO of MTN Uganda from 2016, where he significantly grew subscriber numbers, expanded the network infrastructure, and increased revenue by 75%.
Safaricom’s CEO, Peter Ndegwa, expressed his confidence in Vanhelleputte’s leadership and industry expertise, citing his 25 years of experience in the telecommunications sector across various sub-Saharan African markets.
He also expressed his confidence in a seamless transition and the continuation of the company’s momentum under Vanhelleputte’s leadership.