Nigerian tech entrepreneur Sim Shagaya has announced he is stepping down as the CEO of Konga, which is one of Africa’s leading ecommerce companies.
In an email sent to the company’s staff, Shagaya said he is stepping down to assume the role of the chairman of the company’s board of directors. Former Konga COO Shola Adekoya has been appointed acting CEO, who will be in charge until in interim until the board has made a new appointment.
Shagaya launched Konga in 2012 and has been in charge of the company since its inception. Under him, Konga grew to become one of the continent’s ecommerce powerhouses, competing with Jumia in Nigeria. Shagaya is also known for championing KongaPay, one of major efforts to encourage Nigerians to pay upfront for ordered goods instead of the cash on delivery payment option.
But indications that Shagaya may step down emerged when the company sacked some of its staff earlier this year. Insiders told Ventureburn that those who were sacked were regarded as the pillars of ecommerce in Nigeria. Ventureburn also gathered that the layoffs were not directly ordered by Shagaya but by the company’s investors, who are allegedly trying to take control of the company’s daily operations.
Coincidentally, Shagaya’s decision to step down as CEO was reached at the end of a meeting with the company’s investors in Amsterdam. He was given a new role in which he confirmed he wouldn’t be directly responsible for the daily operations of the organisation.
Speaking to Ventureburn shortly after Shagaya announced he was stepping down, Onyeka Akumah, the company’s former VP described Shagaya as one of Nigeria’s heroes in the tech space. “Shagaya is one of the smartest Nigerians I’ve met or worked with,” he said.
“He is also very intelligent about the decisions he makes and I’m quite sure, he has weighed all the factors before making this decision,” Akumah continued. “Although, there were moments when the pressure of running a retail ecommerce business in Nigeria may have taken hold of him. I can emphatically say that Sim is a great leader at Konga.” According to him, Shagaya was modelling Konga after China’s Alibaba.
Even though Shagaya just announced his resignation, Akumah said the decision might have been reached since last year.
“In all, it’s a very wise decision from Sim to allow him build Konga beyond the pressure of running its day-to-day operations. He is also a products guy and no wonder, even as chairman of the board, he’ll oversee product development. Way-to-go Sim! We are learning from people like him everyday.”