Adil Khawaja takes reins as Safaricom board chair

Safaricom board chairman Adil Khawaja.

Incoming Safaricom board chairman Adil Khawaja.

Photo credit: Courtesy | Safaricom

Kenyan lawyer Adil Arshed Khawaja will now take charge of the board of Safaricom, Kenya's most profitable company. 

The announcement comes just weeks after John Ngumi quit the role after serving less than six months. 

Mr Khawaja, who joined the board as a non-executive director in December,  is the Managing Partner at Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews, the oldest law firm in Kenya.

He also serves on the board of Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, Al Futtaim Automative -CMC Motors Group Limited and Atua Enkop Africa Limited. Previously, he served on the board of KCB Bank between 2016 and 2020. 

"He is recognised as a leading name in the Kenyan legal profession and has been globally recognized in various practice groups as one of the most sought-after lawyers in Kenya," Safaricom said.

Kenyans at the helm

Mr Ngumi's appointment as board chair marked the first time in Safaricom's history that locals were at its helm. He joined Peter Ndegwa, another Kenyan, who was appointed the Safaricom CEO in April 2020 -- the first time that the position and chairman were held by Kenyans concurrently.

The slots have always been occupied by a mix of a foreigner and a local due to the influence of foreign-based major shareholders.

He had taken over from Michael Joseph, who still serves on the board as a director. 

Mr Ngumi said he was quitting to focus on green energy projects.