British American Tobacco Kenya plc (BAT Kenya) is part of the British American Tobacco Group (BAT Group), a leading multi-category consumer goods business. BAT has a long history and rich heritage in Kenya since 1907 and was registered at the Nairobi Securities Exchange in 1969. At the helm of leadership of the company is Chrispin Achola, with a rich wealth of experience. The BAT Kenya board announced the resignation of its Managing Director Mrs. Beverly Spencer effective 31st December 2020, after serving the company for close to four years. Following her resignation, the board appointed Chrispin to take over from 1st January 2021.
Before his appointment, the articulate and poised MD worked in various top positions over the years. Despite being the head of a tobacco manufacturer, the CEO is not a fan of cigarette. After trying it out a couple of times as a young adult, he didn’t develop a liking towards it.
In his early 50s, the Managing Director is quite happy and content with his life. When he is not busy with work, he loves reading with one of his favorite books being The Books of Negros by Lawrence Hill.
Background and Education
The CEO comes from a family of four children- all boys. He is the second born in the family. His family spent more than a decade in the United States where his father was studying. They then moved to Zambia when his father got a job at the University of Zambia. His elder brother remained in the United States. He lost his mother who was an administrator at Kianda School three years ago.
In Kenya, he attended Strathmore School in Lavington before proceeding to the University of Nairobi for a business degree.
With a colorful career spanning over two decades, he worked for BAT from 1999 to 2017, during which he held various top positions within BAT Kenya and BAT Group. He worked as Managing Director Mozambique, Cluster General Manager Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Malawi and Managing Director Sudan. In an interview, he said the most challenging role was in Khartoum, Sudan. BAT had just acquired a company in Sudan and they didn’t have the strength of a multinational which they were used to. The company was largely run in Arabic and he was one out of two or three Christians in the organization. There was also not much knowledge about the company, hence, they were faced with the task of bringing knowledge into the organization.
Prior to his appointment as Managing Director of BAT Kenya, he served as the general manager at Kimberly Clark for West, East and Central Africa and Managing Director for Nigeria.
Mr. Achola is married to a lady from Machakos, Kenya. He is the father to one son who is 17-years-old.