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Stephen Kuria: From Struggling Athlete to Leading Strategic Projects for Multi-Trillion Global Companies

Stephen Kuria is the founder of Caleb Partners (CP) which includes Accelerate to Excellence (A2E) Australia and the Africa Energy and Mineral Institute (AAEMI). He has steered CP as CEO to what it is today through innovation, vision, commitment and passion. Under his leadership, the company continues to expand into New Zealand, South Africa and East Africa.

Kuria has led some of the strategic projects for some of the largest fortunate 500 Global Resource companies such as Woodside Energy, BHP Billiton (worth over Ksh10 trillion according to Forbes), Baker Hughes Australasia, Barrick Gold (worth over Ksh4 trillion), Kenya Pipeline Company, Base Resources in Australia, Africa and North America.

The business expert first immigrated to the Land Down Under after he bagged a sponsorship to represent Curtin University in an athletics competition.

“When I was in high school, I used to run a lot but my people from the Rift Valley would beat me every time. It is sheer hard work that saw me end up going overseas to compete. I did athletics and weightlifting concurrently,” Kuria recounted during an interview with Alex Chamwada on Daring Abroad.

File image of Caleb Partner CEO Stephen Kuria. |Photo| Courtesy|
File image of Caleb Partner CEO Stephen Kuria. |Photo| Courtesy|

In 1990, he was invited by the Australian Olympic Council to train their athletes ahead of the 1992 Barcelona games. At the time, he was fresh out of Utalii College where he had studied hospitality.

Kuria notes that were it not for his patriotism, he would have taken up Ausie citizenshi and represented the country in the 1992 Olympics.

“Our aim was to train the Australian team that was going to Barcelona and through that, they really wanted us to stay here. But being patriotic as we were, we said No and decided not to run for Australia,” said Kuria.

After declining the citizenship offer, Simon opened a curio shop in Perth and began selling ornaments coming out of Kenya and other African countries. He founded the Kilimanjaro African Gallery after discovering an opportunity in educating Australians about the African culture.

It is during this time that he met someone who introduced him to Australia’s mining industry which is among the largest in the world. As a result, he had to close down his curio shops since he could not manage them with his newly-found venture.

He went back to Curtin University for an MBA with a focus on Operational Excellence and Extractives.

“I actually started as an underground miner. The lowest in the hierarchy in the industry is the nipper, like a messenger in the official world. I worked my way up to the position of a manager and then a supervisor,” Kuria recalled.

Between 2005 and 2007 he served as the head of operations in Africa and Australia for Barrick Gold (then the largest gold-mining company in the world). He then moved to BHP mining where he served as a business improvement manager until 2010.

Kuria decided to go into mining consultancy after leaving BHP. He is the CEO of Caleb Partners Group of Companies – which has 14 consultants work around the globe.

Recognitions and State Appointments

President (Rtd) Uhuru Kenyatta appointed Stephen Kuria to be the chairperson of the Mineral Rights Board for a period of three years with effect from May 3, 2019. At the time, the former head of state sought a person with over 10 years of experience in mining, and Kuria fit the bill perfectly.

Memberships

Kuria is a team member of the Curtin University SIFE Australia Team that won the World Championship in Innovation & entrepreneurship in Barcelona, Spain in September 2004. He has always been passionate about his work in the extractive industries and he is now passionate about leveraging his experience and knowledge to bring about transformation in Africa.

He is also the Chairman of the Kenya Australia Chamber of Commerce and he is a board member of the Kenyan Community in Western Australia. He is often sought out by the media both in Australia and Africa to discuss and comment on the subject of transformation of Government services using mining and Oil & Gas.

Kuria in his spare time also writes business articles for some newspapers in Kenya.