Google boss with footprints in entertainment, media industries

Charles Murito

Mr Charles Murito, Google’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.



Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Eighteen months later, I transitioned to a strategy role at Turner Broadcasting.
  • Working with Tatu Creatives, we curated over 66 superheroes from all the various tribes of Kenya.

Charles Murito is the Government Affairs and Public Policy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at Google. His role involves strong engagement between the organisation, the government, and policymakers to ensure that all are advocating for the technology ecosystem and helping governments think through their digital transformation processes.

The 44-year-old father of one is also very keen and involved in the start-up ecosystem and is a lover of art.

For close to two decades, Mr Murito has helped some of the world's leading tech, media and entertainment companies to define their growth strategy and advance their footprint in emerging markets. 

He shares his career path with Sunday Nation.

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I grew up in Limuru, Kiambu County. I attended Nairobi Primary School then went to Upper Hill School for one year before moving to St. Mary’s School where I finished my high school.

I then joined Woodbury University in South California where I studied architecture for two years then switched to major in psychology and management. For my MBA, I focused on finance and entertainment management at Cass Business School, City University of London.

My professional journey started as a management trainee at Warner Bros., a TimeWarner division, which was acquired by AT&T and renamed WarnerMedia.  I started off in a rotational programme. The first six months were in HR, then I moved into research and finance and later transitioned into the internal consulting team tasked with driving efficiencies within the organisation. I later moved into a sales role, where my job was to sell TV shows in Midwest states of the US.

I served in this capacity until 2006, when I moved to London. While in London, I got a job working for MTV Base Africa where I was responsible for East Africa.

After working here for about nine months, I went back to Warner Bros. as chief of staff to the president of UK and Ireland. Eighteen months later, I transitioned to a strategy role at Turner Broadcasting. I held this position until 2013 when I finally moved back to Kenya.

In Kenya, my first role was at Wananchi Group where I served as the chief commercial officer for Wananchi Programming and was its interim managing director. I served in this capacity briefly before joining Google in 2014 as the country Lead. I served in this capacity up until January 2020 when I took up my current role.

One of the dearest memories through my career journey was when working for Turner Broadcasting. I was asked to define the growth strategy for the Middle East and Africa. I proposed to take off Cartoon Network from pay TV and make it a free to air channel. This was unheard of in the business because Cartoon Network is a premium pay TV channel for Turner Broadcasting.  I was willing to take the risk because I had the conviction that it was the right decision to make and that if we made that decision, it would pay off — and it did.

One of my greatest highlights was managing the launch of Cartoon Network Arabic in 2010 and also conceptualising and launching Cartoon Network Animation Academy in conjunction with TwoFour54 in Abu Dhabi. Another highlight, a recent one, is when we launched the Shujaa Stories. Working with Tatu Creatives, we curated over 66 superheroes from all the various tribes of Kenya. 

It's not all been successes.  Over the years, I have had many failures including investing in start-ups that never took off and in the process lost a lot of money. However, I always pick myself up and move to the next thing.

My motivation has always been that to whom much is given, much is expected. As such, I strive to do what will help others. I am where I am right now because I have had mentors who held my hand all along and so I pay it forward. Among my mentors is my grandfather, whom I am named after.  He instilled a strong sense of confidence and conviction in me at a young age. Richard King is another mentor whose guidance I cherish, just to name a few. He trusted me and gave me my first professional internship in his consulting firm.

My advice to the youth is, like one of my mentors always told me, do not make career decisions based on financial benefits only. Another thing is that you should resist societal pressure and allow yourself to grow at your own rate and pace. If you are in a job, be very good at your craft. You have to be the master of what you're doing because there’s no substitute for being excellent at the job that you're paid to do.  I would also insist that they embrace technology, no matter what field they are in. Technology can enable us to explore various fields and reach new customers in ways that one couldn't do in the past.  With this in mind, African youth can be digital sprinters.

Parting shot: It is important to put in the effort, every single day, wherever you go, in terms of every organisation that you're working for.

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