Kenya Power kicks off search for new CEO

Kenya Power

Kenya power building along Aga Khan walk, Nairobi. The utility firm has commenced search for a substantive Chief Executive Officer to replace former CEO Bernard Ngugi.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Kenya Power has commenced search for a substantive Chief Executive Officer to replace former CEO Bernard Ngugi who resigned in a huff in August last year leaving vacant the position usually filled by company insiders.

This places acting CEO Engineer Rosemary Oduor at the front of the queue to replace Mr Ngugi, having served at the company in various capacities for decades before taking control of the company in her current position following his exit.

The 55-year old joined the firm in 1991 and served as the company’s general manager in charge of commercial services and sales prior to her appointment.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Communications Engineering from Moi University and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Nairobi.

In a notice on Friday, Kenya Power said the new CEO will be tasked with executing the company’s ambitious growth targets as well as improving efficiency of operations and delivery of services.

“The Managing Director will lead a large, complex operation overseeing the development and execution of ambitious and high impact strategic and operational plans and service delivery. You will spearhead the drive to improve operational efficiency and service delivery by ensuring efficient and seamless operations,” said Kenya Power.

Former CEO Mr Ngugi, a long serving employee at the company for over 30 years, took over control of the utility firm in October 2019 from Engineer Jared Othieno who had been serving as acting boss for over a year.

Mr Ngugi had served as supply chain manager for ten years prior to which he was serving as the company’s chief accountant.

Meanwhile, Ken Tarus, whom Mr Ngugi replaced as substantive CEO, was serving as the general manager in charge of finance at the company.

First appointed in January 2017 in an acting capacity to replace Ben Chumo who had hit the retirement age of 60, Mr Tarus was confirmed as CEO in August of the same year.

But his reign lasted just under a year after being suspended by the company’s board in July 2018 and arrested by police alongside his former boss Mr Chumo in a Sh4.5 billion transformers procurement scandal.

Mr Chumo was appointed as Kenya Power’s CEO in June 2013 following the exit of Engineer Joseph Njoroge who was hired by the then incoming Jubilee administration as Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Energy.

Multinational audit firm Deloitte is managing the recruitment process.

“(He/she must) have at least ten (10) years’ experience in power, utilities and renewables sector, with not less than five (5) years served as Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operations Officer or 10 years as C -suite executive responsible for at least three function areas of an energy utility company. Work experience in more than one utility will be a definite added advantage,” said Deloitte.

The applications are open until February 28.

The new CEO will come at a pivotal time for Kenya Power which is undergoing major reforms aimed at streamlining the entire energy sector and lowering the cost of electricity.

Already, the government is undertaking valuation of the company’s transmission assets ahead of their transfer to the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) to enable Kenya Power focus on power distribution.

The exercise is expected to be completed next month.