, NAIROBI, Kenya,Aug 11 – Michael Joseph has resigned from his post as chairman of the Kenya Tourist Board barely eight months after his appointment.
In his letter to the Tourism Minister, Mr Joseph cited his appointment as a World Bank Fellow on Mobile Money, which he said was taking up most of his time away from the tourism marketing body.
Mr Joseph took over from Jake Grieves-Cook whose two terms ended on November 30, 2010.
“My recent World Bank appointment will involve extensive travel and this prolonged absence from the country will not be fair to the Kenya Tourist Board, which deserves a chair who will accord time to the organisation,” Mr Joseph said in a statement.
Mr Joseph who has been credited with helping to build Safaricom into one of the most profitable and successful brands in East Africa, officially retired on November 1 after serving for 10 years at the helm of the firm.
Tourism Minister Najib Balala had hoped he would transfer his expertise to help transform KTB into an efficient marketing body that will help unlock the potential in the local tourism industry.
In acknowledging the resignation, Mr Balala saluted Mr Joseph as an industry leader within the private sector and was looking forward to his experience in helping improve KTB.
“We thank Mr Joseph for the good work and direction he charted in the short duration while at KTB,” Mr Balala said adding a replacement would be announced soon.
The involvement of MJ (as he is popularly known) in the creation of mobile money transfer system M-Pesa, saw him land the advisory job with the World Bank.
Mr Joseph will be used by the Bank to advise it and governments on spreading the use of mobile phone banking, drawing on his knowledge and experience at the helm of Kenya’s largest telecommunications service provider.