Fate of former KP boss still unknown amid fresh picks

Monday, November 4th, 2019 08:00 |

After appointing a new chief executive, Kenya Power (KP) has advertised nine senior managerial positions which had also become vacant, following a corruption purge at the firm.

The new development compounds the fate of former acting managing director Jared Othieno who was replaced by Bernard Ngugi at the corner office.

In an advert in local dailies last Friday, Kenya Power asked interested candidates to apply for nine vacant  positions of general manager awaiting vetting by consulting firm Deloitte.

Among the positions advertised is that of General Manager Street Lighting, previously held by Othieno before he was called upon to act as the CEO after former chief executive Ken Tarus was relieved of his responsibilities by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter.

“I am on leave”

Othieno, just like the other acting general managers were initially to act for three months before substantive appointments were made, but their period was extended by one year.

When the Business Hub reached out to Othieno on phone asking whether he would consider applying for his former position, he pleaded to be spared the interview in order to be with his family.

“Please, please, can I be allowed to rest? I am on leave. Can I be allowed to stay with my family,” he pleaded, perhaps weary of answering questions from media.

Deloitte stated in the advert:  “These positions are on contractual terms for a period of four years and renewable for a further four-year term (s) based on performance and requirements.” 

On Wednesday, when the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed firm announced the appointment of Bernard Ngugi as the new CEO, board chairman Mahboub Maalim showered Othieno with praises, saying he steadied KP during a difficult period.

His last function as acting CEO was late last month, when he presided over a Sh 2 billion World Bank funded project that rolled out a country-wide KP live wire transmission maintenance programme.

The project aims to minimise disruptions caused by scheduled maintenance, which result in switching off power lines.

Vacant positions

However, Othieno’s fate is not known and he did not even attend the meeting during which the new CEO was announced.

Other seniour positions advertised in the local dailies included those of Business Strategy, Connectivity Implementation, Corporate Affairs and Company Secretary, Human Resource and Administration, ICT, Network Management and Infrastructure Development; Customer Service and Regional Coordination, Finance, and Supply Chain, a position held by Ngugi for 10 years prior to his appointment as CEO on Wednesday.

Having settled for an insider from Kenya Power, despite governance concerns during his 10 years stint as head of procurement, Deloitte will be hard pressed to deliver impeccable candidates.

Among the concerns that insiders will have to wriggle though inludes recent deals which have recently raised queries including the procurement of defective transformers, irregularities in pre-qualifying some 525 companies for labour and transport contracts as well as the ongoing multi-billion-shilling electricity poles business.

The incoming CEO requires high calibre managers to turn around the financial fortunes of the company.

“Getting the best is one thing, but creating a conducive environment to deliver on their mandate is something totally different,” said Albert Onyango, a finance lecturer at United States International University.

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