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Safaricom’s M-Pesa boss quits after a year

NAIROBI – Safaricom  has announced that its head of M-Pesa has exited the company at a critical time when the telecom firm is undertaking a major upgrade of the mobile money platform.

Ronald Webb, the company’s director of financial services and a former Equity Bank EQTY • 41.00 ▲ 1.23% executive, will step down from his position today after a year in charge of the critical docket.

Bob Collymore, Safaricom’s chief executive, on Monday informed his employees of Mr Webb’s imminent departure, saying he was moving back to the United Kingdom “for family reasons.”

“I wish him all the best as he returns following 18 productive years in Kenya,” Mr Collymore said in a staff memo.

“In the meantime, I would like to ask that we all give our usual support to Brian Wamatu, who will be standing in as interim director, financial services.”

Poached from Equity

Safaricom in August 2016 appointed Mr Webb from Equity Bank, where he was the director of payments, stepping up the mobile money rivalry between the two companies.

Mr Webb had been instrumental in driving the growth of Equity Bank’s mobile money payments platform, Equitel, which he had headed for one year before being poached.

READ: Safaricom head hunts Equity chief in battle for mobile cash

Prior to joining Equity bank Mr Webb was co-founder and chief architect of the Paynet and PesaPoint payment platforms in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Mr Webb leaves Safaricom at a time when the company is undertaking a phased upgrade of its M-Pesa platform.

The improvement, which began on June 30, will see new M-Pesa features added, some functions automated and reduce the need for customers to make requests at its call centre.

It is the third major M-Pesa upgrade in the 10-year existence of the pioneering mobile money service.

Safaricom’s revenue from M-Pesa stood at Sh55.1 billion in the year to March, a 32.7 per cent year-on-year growth.

The telecom firm recorded Sh1.84 trillion in deposits in the year to March compared to Sh1.6 trillion in withdrawals.

Source: Business Daily

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