Safaricom of Kenya Appoints Vodacom Tanzania’s Kamath as CFO

  • Kamath has had roles at Vodafone units in London, Australia
  • Tombleson to take up position at merged unit in New Zealand

Safaricom Ltd., Kenya’s biggest company by market value, appointed Govinda Sateeth Kamath as chief financial officer from August, replacing John Tombleson.

Kamath was previously CFO at the Tanzanian unit of Vodacom Group Ltd., the Johannesburg-based mobile-phone company. He’s held positions over the past 12 years as Vodafone operations in London, Australia, Turkey and Fiji, the Nairobi-based company said in a statement e-mailed Friday.

Tombleson, who has been CFO for the past five years, will head to his home country, New Zealand, to become integration director of the recently announced merger between Vodafone Group Plc and Sky Network Television Ltd. of New Zealand, it said.

Safaricom, which is 40 percent owned by Newbury, England-based Vodafone, said last month Tombleson’s departure was part of a routine rotation of employees seconded to Safaricom by Vodafone. His move has nothing to do with reports in Kenyan newspapers, including the Daily Nation, that he was one of five Safaricom executives named in a draft forensic-audit report on alleged non-procedural land purchases by the company, it said Friday.

Safaricom shares closed 1.4 percent lower at 17.50 shillings on Friday as volumes surged to more than twice their three-month average.

“It is profit taking, which is ironic when the market is doing so badly and we are talking about profit taking,” Rufus Mwanyasi, chief executive officer of Canaan Capital, said in a phone interview. “People thought it would get to 20, but it seems to be stuck at 18, so investors might be thinking, ‘let me quit right now when the going is good and get my profit.’”

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