The knack to steer a business-even a kiosk-to profitability is a reserve for the chosen few. Otherwise, most of us would either be running successful businesses or at the helm of serious companies making tough decisions that guarantee profits to shareholders. Joseph Malel Choge is in that chosen few bracket.
Everything the current CEO of Premier Food Industries seems to touch turns to gold as this article will attest.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
The ex-Peptang boss grew up in Kitale with both his parents. He was introduced to the intricacies of business early in life.
In an interview with BusinessDaily, Joseph recounted how he would ferry 100 litres of milk on his motorbike to town daily and in the process made a tidy sum.
His take home was about Ksh200,000 per month and this convinced him him not to further his studies after high school. It took the intervention of his father to convince him to join university.
The CEO does not only possess great leadership skills but he is also well read. He graduated at the University of Nairobi (UoN) with a degree in mathematics and later on a Master’s degree in International Management. (Also, CPA (K).
Marriage And Children
Joseph is married to Brenda and the couple have four children-two boys and two girls. The couple love pot brewed in a maths lecture hall where both were second year students. They married in 2008, two years after finishing campus.
His leadership skills must have manifested early if his appointments are anything to go by. He worked in Gabon as a general manager finance and at Unilever as country finance manager.
Joseph admitted that while working in Gabon for three and a half years was good for his career, it was tough for him being away from his family. His children growing up in his absence greatly affected him. He told Jackson Biko of that period:
In my second year in Gabon, my wife would send videos of my two children growing up without me. I missed Kimberly starting to walk, her first words… My lowest moment was when my third born was born. I have always been in the delivery room holding my wife’s hand. I missed when Karen was born.
I was coming from Gabon, through Rwanda. While in Rwanda, my wife tells me ‘I think the baby is coming.’ I was like, ‘Oh! you have to wait for me.’ I landed at JKIA at 7pm and was told Karen was already born. (Pause) I missed it.
His star continued shining and in 2017-and at only 35 years-Joseph was appointed general manager of Telecoms at Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) and posted to head the company’s Uganda business.
Within the year, the young CEO managed to resuscitate the loss making company to profit-making territory that prepared the firm for divestiture at a better value.
His success story saw him appointed in May 2018 as the CEO at Premier Foods Industries. His impact was felt almost immediately. That same year the company posted 21 percent in profits. He leads over 500 employees.
Joining Unga Group
Joseph Choge exited Peptang late this year to join Unga Group Plc as the Group Managing Director. He replaced Nicholas Hutchinson whose retirement takes effect on December 31, 2021.
His departure from Premier Foods Ltd was greeted with praise songs and dance. Employees could not held shed tears as the man of the moment bid farewell to a company he had steered to profitability.