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HomeceosRakesh Rao: Corporate Man Who Steered Crown Paints To Its Might

Rakesh Rao: Corporate Man Who Steered Crown Paints To Its Might

Rakesh Rao is the CEO of Crown Paints Kenya PLC, a paint manufacturing company that was established in 1958.

The company, which is largest paint manufacturer in Kenya and has a market share of over 65% produces a wide range of paints, including decorative paints, industrial paints and marine paints.

Rao joined the company in 2005 with an ambition to see the company’s turnover double to at least Ksh 20 billion.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

According to reliable sources, Rao attended Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya in 1983 where he pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce.

In 1984, he enrolled for a Diploma in Costing and Management Accounting and graduated with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2000.

Rao later pursue a PhD in Global Leadership and Management at the European International University in Paris, France.

He joined Crown Paints Kenya as CEO in 2005.

Before joining Crown Paints, Rao worked with multinational companies such as Tata Group, Mitsubishi and General Electric in various management capacities.

His achievements after joining the company include bolstering profitability and raising market share from 48 percent to 65 percent.

Rao also steered the company into the Ugandan market through Regal Paints and as Crown Paints in Rwanda and Uganda.

“I came with a growth mindset and put a lot of emphasis on sales and customer obsession. Revenue is the lifeblood of a business; get it right and everything else eventually falls into place,” Rao shared.

Rao also steered the launch of the first ever digital platforms for home décor in East Africa, including Painters’ loyalty program and mobile applications such as the Crown Color Application.

“We’ve invested in technology over the years and the training of our teams. We’ve also invested in Research and Development to boost product innovation,” he said.

Today, the company has more than 17 different products, from just 3 in 2005.

Additionally, they operate a world-class experiential showrooms that boast of a virtual color visualizer and a dedicated color consultant.

The company also has computerized tinting machines that can dispense a range of over 6,000 shades.

Crown Paints

Established in 1958, Crown Paints has grown to a company with an annual turnover of Ksh 9 billion, producing 3 million litres of paint per month.

The company employs slightly less than 1,000 staff members, and it is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

It has regional operations in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, providing tailor-made solutions to the construction and retail industries.

The company has the most extensive dealer network in Kenya in both semi-urban and rural areas, including depots and Crown Décor World showrooms countrywide.

It possesses a number of computerized tinting machines in the market, which can dispense a range of over 6,000 shades, providing customers with a higher colour range and unparalleled convenience.

In addition to decorative paints, Crown Paints has supplemented its product range with a wide array of fashion and textured paint finishes.

They also have an extensive range of automotive paints available under its own Motocryl for the Jua Kali market, Duco brand as well as world-leading products from Nexa Autocolour (PPG) and Duxone (Axalta Coating Systems).

The paint manufacturer has a supply agreement with Oil, Gas and Marine Specialist Coatings giant, Akzo Nobel, as well as leading adhesive and construction chemicals company, Pidilite.

The Crown Silicone range of paints are produced under license from Wacker Chemie AG. They offer superior exterior wall protection from water, dust and extreme weather conditions that cause dilapidation of buildings and loss of value in the property market.