By Isaac Blessings
Decisions that alter the direction of a company or organization are made by the board of directors. They control everything that happens and make sure that the firm is on the right track in terms of growth and profits. Here is a list of some of the most influential chairs of corporate boards who have steered their respective companies into great success and achievements.
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Rita Kavashe is the chair of the board of directors at the British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya – a leading multi-category consumer goods company with presence in East African countries. One of her major achievements as the chair of the board is that the company has been able to transform the tobacco industry through offering potentially reduced health risk cigarette products. She is also committed to pushing gender diversity and nurturing the future leaders by giving opportunities to women and young people in her company. During her era, the company saw the appointment of the first Kenyan Managing Director (MD), Mr Crispin Achola. She is a recipient of the Best Employer in Kenya 2017 and 2018 by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE).
James Ndegwa is the Chair of the board of directors at Capital Markets Authority (CMA). The Capital Markets Authority is an independent Public agency established by an Act of Parliament, Cap 485 under the National Treasury and Planning. Its main responsibility is supervising, licensing and monitoring the activities of market intermediaries, including the Stock exchange and all other persons licensed under the Capital Markets Act. James Ndegwa who is the son of former Central Bank Governor the late Philip Ndegwa, holds a MBA from the prestigious Oxford University and is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (UK), Insurance Institute of Kenya. He is the Chairman of the First Chartered Securities (FCS) and a director of several companies.
Jane Karuku, MGH
Jane Karuku is the current chair of the Vision 2030 project delivery board. She was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta after the exit of Dr. James Mwangi. The board is tasked with providing overall leadership, oversight, guidance and implementation of the Vision 2030. She was also appointed by the President to Chair the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund in 2020 to support the government’s effort in the procurement of medical supplies and equipment. As if that is not enough, on January 1st 2021, the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) appointed her to be the Group Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She became the first woman to be appointed in the position since the company was incorporated.
Also Read: Isuzu East Africa CEO Rita Kavashe Profile, Education, Career and Family
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Nicholas Nganga is the chair of the board of directors at Kakuzi Plc. Kakuzi is a listed Kenyan agricultural company trading on both the Nairobi and London Stock Exchange. The company mainly deals with cultivation, processing and marketing of farm produce such as avocados, blueberries, macadamia, tea and commercial forestry. He worked for 14 years as the Chair of board of directors at Safaricom Plc. – East Africa’s largest and most profitable telecommunication company. He oversaw the appointment of the late Bob Collymore and Peter Ndegwa as the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He has also served as a Chair of different companies and organizations including Marlboro Safari Rally organizing Committee, National Bank, the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC), East African Portland Cement Company (EAPC), Tea Board of Kenya, and Kenya Pipeline Company.
Patricia Ithau is the current chair of board of directors at Vivo Activewear LLC and ABSA Securities – a subsidiary of ABSA Bank Kenya Plc. With a career spanning over 25 years across 3 global companies namely Unilever, L’Oreal and Diageo/ East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL), she is indeed a woman of experience and knowledge. She holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the United States International University (USIU) and a Bachelor’s of Commerce degree from the University of Nairobi. She sits on different boards including TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), Vodafone Foundation, ABSA Bank Kenya, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Jambojet – a subsidiary of Kenya Airways Plc.
Rita Okuth is the current Chair of the board of directors at Kenya Pipeline Company Plc. Okuthe was part of the success of building East and Central Africa’s largest and most profitable Company, Safaricom Plc. While at safaricom, she is credited with creating impactful brand assets such as Safaricom sevens, Safaricom Jazz and Blaze BYOB. She was appointed as the Kenya Pipeline Company board chair in late 2018 after the exit of one John Ngumi. She has won several local and international awards and has been nominated as one of the top 50 Global Marketers by the Global Telecoms Magazine in recognition of her contribution to building Safaricom Plc.
Also Read: Stephen Mutai M’Imanyara: The Richest Man In Meru County Who Co-founded Co-operative Bank
Mucai Kunyiha is the Chair of the Board at Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), a representative of manufacturing and value-add industries in Kenya established in 1959. Prior to being appointed the Chair in July 2020, he has served in different positions in the association including Vice Chair, HR and Governance Committee, Legal and Regulatory Committee, Finance Management and Projects Committee. As the chair of the board, he has played a major role in the development of the Kenya Plastic Action Plan (KPAP) – a private sector-led policy and action plan aimed at enabling a circular economy for environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics in Kenya. He sits in different boards including the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board and Kenya Property Developers Association. He is the Group Managing Director of Cooper K-Brands.
Michael Joseph is the current Chairman of Safaricom Plc – the largest and most profitable telecommunications company in East and Central Africa. He was appointed in the position in 2020 after the exit of the long serving Nicholas Nganga. Michael Joseph came to Kenya in July 2000 as the founder CEO of Safaricom, then a joint venture between Vodafone UK and Telkom Kenya. Together with his partners, with sheer hard work and persistence, they built the company to where it is right now. In 2010 he stepped down as Safaricom CEO and took his new role as a consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a year. He later took a role as the Mobile Money Director for Vodafone, through which he introduced M-pesa to Tanzania, Mozambique, Lesotho, Egypt, Romania, India and South Africa. In 2017 he was elected by President Uhuru Kenyatta to become the Chairman of Kenya Airways.
Also Read: Michael Joseph Biography, Background, Marriages, Career And Current Positions He Holds
Carole Kariuki Karuga
Carole Kariuki Karuga chairs the board at the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA). The main objective of the government-led initiative is to contribute towards the transformation of the country’s economic base in order to realize a higher and sustained growth, employment creation and poverty reduction in the country. SEZA is the regulator of all Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in Kenya and is responsible for establishing, approving, developing and designing all SEZs. During her tenure as the Chair, she has overseen the development of modern smart cities and SEZs such as Eldoret Industrial Park, Sergoit Golf Resort, Mwale Medical and Technological City, Tatu City and Konza city among many others. She is the CEO of KEPSA and Chief Policy Maker at the Vision 2030 delivery board. She sits on different boards including East African Cables PLC, IS Kenya (Internet Solutions), Business Advocacy Fund, Danish Embassy – Kenya, United States International University Africa Trust, Global Compact Network, Nairobi Innovation Lab, Operationalization of the Kenya National Convention Bureau and the National Council of Administrative Justice.
Dr. Wilfred David Kiboro
Dr. Wilfred David Kiboro is the current chair of the board of directors at Nation Media Group. Under his watch, the Nation Media Group has grown to become one of the leading media houses in the country. He has previously worked on boards of leading companies both locally and internationally including East African Breweries Limited (EABL), Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Kenya, Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Rhino Ark and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) among many others. He is the founder chairman of the Media Owners Association (MOA) and was the Chairman of the East Africa Business Council.
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