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Was Kenya Power’s CEO Bernard Ngugi forced out?

The abrupt  resignation of Kenya Power Chief executive Bernard Ngugi and immediate appointment of his successor General Manager Commercial Services and Sales Rosemary Oduor in an interim role, caught many by surprise on Wednesday morning barely weeks after the latter announced sweeping changes at the company that would have had detrimental effects to its workforce.

The management changes were confirmed by board chair Vivienne Yeda, who said Mr Ngugi’s exit is effective August 4, 2021.

He leaves the company after two years. He was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 and previously served as the Company’s General Manager in charge of Supply Chain.

Kenya Power woes have been brewing for sometime now and Ngigi’s exit is a culmination of challenges bedeviling the giant power distributor.

 

“Management has observed with concern an upsurge of staff costs in the Company. These include overtime, travel and associated cost elements. While managers and other supervisors will be held accountable for the containment and control of various costs in their respective dockets including offering effective leadership,” reads in part the memo signed by Mr Ngugi last month.

Indeed, five non-executive directors of Kenya Power representing half of the board resigned without the electricity distributor announcing their replacement on nearly three weeks ago.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm said Adil Khawaja, Kairo Thuo, Wilson Kimutai Mugung’ei, Brenda Kokoi and Zipporah Kering had resigned as independent directors.

The company did not give reasons for their departures that left the board consisting of the CEO Bernard Ngugi and civil servants including National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter termed the changes as normal, saying it was a continuation of the reorganisation that started in the management ranks.

“It is just a change in the board. As you may have noticed, there has been reorganisation which has been happening at Kenya power and we had a new team at the management. It is just part of that reorganisation and nothing more than that,” he said.

The changes come at a time when Kenya Power, a monopoly, continues to post weaker earnings. It has issued its third profit warning in a row, citing reduced electricity consumption due to coronavirus control measures and rising cost of buying wholesale power from companies like KenGen.

The alert means its net earnings for the year ended June 2020 will decline by at least 25 percent compared to the previous year’s profit of Sh262 million —which was also its lowest in 16 years.

Until his departure from Kenya Power, Ngugi had over 31 years’ experience in the Company with expertise in financial and revenue accounting, internal audit and supply chain management. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance, and a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting-both from the University of Nairobi.

He had replaced Eng. Jared Othieno who served as Acting MD from July 2018 after suspension of Kenya Power’s management team. Mr Othieno had replaced Ken Tarus, who left after he was charged in court with conspiring to commit an economic crime and abuse of office over irregular supply of transformers.

He is a Certified Public Accountant of Kenya and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya. He is also a Certified Public Secretary of Kenya and a member of the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya.

Additionally, Ngugi holds a Graduate Diploma from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supplies and is a member of the Kenya Institute of Supplies Management.

 

 

 

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