By Prudence Minayo
Sylvia Mulinge was named by MTN Uganda as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective 1st October 2022. She takes over from Wim Vanhelleputte who has been promoted to a regional role as operating executive for the WECA Markets of Liberia, Guinea-Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, and Congo-Brazzaville within the MTN Group.
“Sylvia Mulinge becomes MTN Uganda CEO, joining from Safaricom, where she served as Chief Consumer Business Officer for the Group. A seasoned executive, she brings with her a passion for transforming customers’ lives using technology,” a statement from MTN Group, South Africa read in part.
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The name Sylvia Mulinge has been synonymous with Safaricom. Since joining the mobile service provider in 2006, she has steadily risen up the career ladder to become a top executive in the company. Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said Ms. Mulinge played a pivotal role in the establishment of two key businesses in Safaricom: Enterprise and Fixed data.
In 2014, she appeared on Business Daily Africa’s Top 40 Women under 40. She also appeared on the second publication of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2020 by Avance Media. Sylvia has also been acknowledged as a Young Global Leader at the 2015 World Economic Forum, and Top 25 Women in Digital in Kenya by Digitalk.
Sylvia went to St. Xaviers Primary School in Nakuru followed by Mary Mount Secondary School. She then joined the University of Nairobi and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science and Technology.
In August 2004, she joined Unilever as an assistant regional brand manager in the laundry division in Durban, South Africa. Six months later, she got a transfer to Nairobi, Kenya and was appointed the brand manager for Sunlight soap. She worked in this capacity from May 2005 to January 2006.
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In February 2006, she joined Kenya’s telecommunications giant, Safaricom where she would go on to work for more than a decade. She was employed as the manager in charge of Safaricom’s pre-pay product.
In November the following year, she became head of retail until August 2009. She was then appointed head of Safaricom Business, in charge of sales.
In May 2011, she became the General Manager for Enterprise Business.
In May 2015, the telco giant appointed her as Director of Consumer Business.
In April 2018, she was declared the Chief Executive Officer designate of Vodacom Tanzania. The position was based in Dar es Salaam and was effective from 1st June 2018. In this position, she was to replace the outgoing CEO Ian Ferrao. However, in September that year, Vodacom Tanzania announced that Sylvia had been denied a work permit by Tanzania authorities. The position went to another person.
In 2018, Safaricom appointed her the Chief Customer Officer. In July 2021, she became the Chief Consumer Business Officer at Safaricom PLC.
The experienced executive has also served as a board member at Shofco, Endeavor Kenya, and Member of Board Trustee at The President Award, and Safaricom Foundation. She has also served as vice chairperson for Unstereotype Alliance.