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East Africa: End of an 'Error' As Liquid Telecom Takes Over From Altech

31 January, 2013
By Dennis Mbuvi, 31 January 2013
CIO East Africa (Nairobi)

The restructuring did not go down well with employees, as a number of employees working on a number of projects found themselves moved to Swift Global. A number of frustrated employees then decided to leave the firm altogether, leaving a number of projects in limbo. A former employee at the group says that there were a number of servers that remained idle as a result of employees leaving their projects.

The restructuring at KDN was meant to see the firm become a data carrier. It did not matter what their clients were buying, or what they wanted, they all had to adopt to KDN's new direction and purchase data and related services from the company. Safaricom, who was KDN's largest client, relying on the company for supply of dark fibre throughout the country got a memo, they had to start buying data, rather than unlit fibre, from KDN.

Having had enough of cuts and being forced to purchase products they didn't want, Safaricom decided to source new suppliers. The company moved its business to Jamii Telecom Limited, it's other supplier, and Frontier Optical Networks(FON), a firm that was just launching.

Safaricom is said to have accounted for 60 percent of KDN's business.

As for the remaining employees, the waves got bigger. A number of employees soon found themselves retrenched without prior notice. Some say the management refused to honor their salaries. In addition, an annual bonus allocation that had been shared by all employees under Kai's reign was also withdrawn.

KDN's Research and Development department that was working on new products also disappeared, with the management bringing in highly paid experts to head the research and development roles. The number of experts at the firm grew so much that KDN had to address the issue in the press.

Despite all the challenges, KDN was able to successfully launch the groups four floor data centre. This however, had been an initiative that had been started by Kai Wulff.

In November 2011, Rikkus was replaced by Shahab Mekshi, who was brought in from his role as Cisco's GM for East Africa. His focus included improving KDN's quality of service, together with assuring clients and employees.

Though things did calm down at KDN in 2012, the company still remains a shadow of its glorious past. Liquid Telecom have their work cut out. The onus is on them to make KDN a passionate company among its employees, clients and shareholders.


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