He has been voiceless. Uchumi has no voice. How about the voiceless roars where there is no voice! Sounds a plan, where there is will, there is way.
Uchumi supermarket this week announced that they had hired the Equity Bank Chief Operating Officer (COO), Julius Kipg’etich technically second in command, as their new CEO. At Equity, outsiders thought he is being lined up to take over as the Equity Bank’s CEO once James Mwangi leaves, whether that is true or not, it may never happen.
The main problem at Equity is that James Mwangi is the only voice. All honor and glory is his. No other person is tangibly heard. Hence the perception has been that Kipng’etich has not had a tangible contribution to the company. Unfortunately since only James Mwangi makes public statements for the bank, any other person’s contributions are publicly muted.
At Uchumi as the boss, Kipng’etich has the chance to roar as he did while at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS). While poaching was not wholly eradicated during his tenure, he soared the revenues of the organization and also ensured greater brand visibility.
A statement from the Uchumi board of directors said
“He brings on board a wealth of experience in leadership, business reorganization, turnaround management and strategy execution that are needed to get Uchumi back on track.”
Already he has stated that he will ban employees from doubling up as suppliers, something that messed up the company leading to losses. The conflict of interest meant that as suppliers and also employees, they could supply goods at whatever rate is favorable to them as they are guaranteed. In addition, quality is easily compromised in this scenario, something that affects the sales.
A week ago, Uchumi had poached Willy King’ara from Naivas supermarket to be the new Chief Operating Officer at Uchumi. These two top executives certainly have their work well cut out to turnaround the retail company.
A word of advice to Kipng’etich would be once the company is back to profitability, take off to go to a new challenge. Do not turnaround it then turn it again 360 degrees.