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Simeon Hutchinson: MD At The Steering Wheel Of James Finlay Kenya Limited For More Than A Decade  

By Prudence Minayo

James Finlay Kenya Limited is a leading grower, manufacturer and supplier of Kenya Tea. For decades, the company has built its reputation both within and outside the country for its premium, quality tea. The company has recently been embroiled in a scandal following a BBC expose revealing sexual abuse faced by women working in their tea farms. Starbucks has served links with the tea manufacturer after the expose.

At the helm of leadership is Simeon Hutchinson who has been serving as the company’s Managing Director since 2008. He took up this position after working for more than 20 years with one of the leading tea producers in Kenya. 

Here is the story as told by WoK.

Education 

He graduated with a degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Reading. 

Work at James Finlay Kenya Limited 

Under his leadership, the company has established itself as a top brand. They have also made efforts towards adopting more sustainable means in their production. During the 18th Energy Management Awards in 2022, James Finlay (Kenya) received the best tea sector award from Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). 

This was as a result of their  exceptional management of Changana Factory. During the award, KAM was keen on manufacturers who promoted an energy conscious culture and conservation. During the ceremony, Mr. Hutchinson said that 82% of their energy came from renewable sources. 

He said at the time that the company was committed to reducing environmental impact in all their operations. The MD said that their sustainability strategy included a pledge to protect and enhance 100,000 hectares of forests by the end of that year.

This is a project in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. He said the company had collaborated with the Initiative for Sustainable Landscape (ISLA) to retire and conserve 60,000 hectares of the Mau forest by 2030. 

“By embracing an integrated landscapes approach towards sustainability, Finlays has been able to establish a unique set of objectives that confront some of the most pressing challenges in the tea sector,” he said. 

Mr. Hutchinson also led the organization in the launch of the Finlay’s Community Trust. This initiative works with the local communities in Kenya to deliver maximum social, environmental and economic benefits. 

The fund has among other things provided millions of Shillings for students scholarships, commissioned a modern library at Kakamega Mixed Secondary School and invested at least Ksh20 million to support education in Kericho and Bomet. 

Previously, Simeon acted as the chairman of the Nandi branch of Kenya Tea Growers Association, and Director at the Tea Board of Kenya from 2009 to 2011. 

He has also been featured as a guest writer on the Nation, where he wrote an article titled, Climate change action starts with the locals.