By Prudence Minayo
James Mworia is the Chief Executive Officer of Centum Investment, a company that has invested in various sectors of the economy. Since joining the company, he was determined to make a difference and he worked hard to achieve this goal. His innovative ideas saw him rise to become the CEO of Centum eight years after he joined the company. He believes humility is also important if one is to succeed in life and also believes in adding value to whatever one is doing.
An article published by Business Daily in 2017 named Mworia as Kenya’s highest paid CEO after reportedly making Ksh 375 million in the year ended March 2017, claims that he refuted.
“Be professional and accurate in your reporting. The figure in your sensational headline is the remuneration for the entire management team” he tweeted in response to the article.
James Mworia was born in 1978.
The CEO went to some of the best schools in the country. James studied in Nanyuki Primary School, a local school in the central part of Kenya. Mworia sat for his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and became the top student in his district. He got admitted to Alliance High School where he had to work harder than primary school if he wanted to be among the top students. Mathematics and sciences were his worst subjects and he used to perform poorly.
“Sikua napenda hesabu ata sikua napenda accounting. I used to come last in Maths and Sciences,” he revealed on Maisha Magic East.
This changed when a friend made him understand Maths and after understanding the logic he began loving it. He then proceeded to Strathmore University and later joined the University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of law degree.
In 2016, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Machakos University. He is also a certified public accountant and a chartered financial analyst.
The Centum Investment CEO was born the first born in a family of three children. His mother was a primary teacher cum businessman and his father a lawyer. He grew up in Central Kenya and learnt the values of hard work and discipline at a young age.
James met his wife Joan Mworia back when they were still kids in Nanyuki Primary School.
Mworia learnt to work at a young age. He began working as his father’s filing clerk and would pick his letters from posta and go to court for hearing dates.
In 2001, he joined Centum Investment as an intern and his ambition even then was to become a CEO. He was a curious young man and always desired to do better, helping out whenever someone needed help. While still a junior in the company, he would finish his work early and offer to assist his colleagues finish their tasks.
Mworia then rose through the ranks to become investment manager but quit after two years because he believed centum were too conservative.
He joined Transcentury where he worked for 18 months before the Centum board rehired him. He agreed to return after presenting a strategic plan to grow the investment company. They saw his vision and made him Chief Executive Officer when the position became available.
At the age of 30, he became the youngest senior executive in a Kenya listed firm and has been credited for doing a lot for the company. Under his leadership, the company has grown and today Centum has investments in a number of sectors, such as real estate, fast moving consumer goods, financial services and energy.
Apart from being the CEO of Centum Investment, he has also held and still holds some of the following positions:
- The chairman of the board of directors of Sidian bank
- A board member with the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE).
- The vice chancellor of Machakos University
He has received a number of awards including:
- African Young Business Leader of the year 2011. The award seeks to recognize leaders under the age of 40 who have shown exemplary leadership qualities and innovation in business
- 2015 East African Business Leader of the Year Award.