Safaricom acting CEO Michael Joseph sold all his shares at the giant telco in the course of last year, it has emerged.
According to company statements, Joseph owned about 1.17 million shares as of March 31, 2018, but all were sold in the course of fiscal year ending March 2019.
Speaking to Business Daily, Joseph revealed that he was not cutting ties with the company, but sold the shares to construct his retirement home.
“When you invest in a company like I did with Safaricom you invest or a reason. You invest at some point because you want to invest. When you take the money out you want to spend on something. In my semi-retirement I am building a house and I need the funds,” he told the publication.
Seemingly, Joseph is not interested in retiring to his home in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Northern Kenya. However, it is still not clear where he is building his retirement home.
The US national acquired Kenyan citizenship in 2014, making him a dual citizen, which allows him to either live in Kenya or US for the rest of his life.
Approximately, the sale of his shares earned him at least Ksh31 million, going by the share price of Ksh27 which was prevailing last year.
The 73-year-old denied claims that he was cutting ties with the company, saying that he will continue serving at the board when he leaves office on April 1 this year, to pave way for the new CEO Mr Peter Ndegwa.
He could however have seen an unpromising future for the company, owing to a weakened leadership.
“If I could keep (my shares) there, I could keep them there. I could keep them for sure. It has nothing to do with Safaricom,” he said.
Joseph became Safaricom CEO in 2000, before joining Safaricom board on September 8, 2008. In the same year, he was employed by Vodafone, then Safaricom majority shareholder, as the director of mobile money.
Currently, he s Vodafone’s Strategic advisor to the board of Vodacom Group South Africa, Vodacom Tanzania, Vodacom Mozambique and Safaricom Kenya.
Currently, the government of Kenya holds a 35 percent stake at Safaricom, same to South Africa’s Vodacom.