Inside Politics

Kenya Power bets on new directors to drive growth

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Power staff working on a power line. Photo/Courtesy

Kenya Power has replaced the five board members who left in a huff last week giving the monopoly a new window of opportunity to rebound following years of loss-making.

Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed utility firm appointed Abdulrazaq Ali, Elizabeth Rogo, Carolyne Kittony- Waiyaki, Vivienne Yeda and Sachen Gudka as independent directors.

They fill positions left by Adil Khawaja, Brenda Kokoi, Kairo Thuo, Wilson Kimutai Mugung’ei and Zipporah Kering last week.

Experts cautiously welcomed the appointment of the five to the firm’s board, with questions lingering whether they will rekindle the firm’s dimming profitability and credibility issues.

Gerald Muriuki, a research analyst at Genghis Capital questioned why directors representing the government on the board did not resign, begging the question why the board had issues with the five non-executive directors.

“First of all, the statement is silent on whether the new directors are coming in to replace those that resigned, though that would be my assumption,” said Muriuki.

Seen on one hand as an attempt to turn around the loss-making monopoly, the resignation of the five unfortunately, also comes with lots of business and political undertones.

Long overdue

Joseph Kirimi, a director at Sterling Capital said it was long overdue for the directors who resigned as their period coincided with the “mess that happened when they were there.”

Out of the board of 12, only the CEO Bernard Ngugi, chairman Mahboub Maalim and Company Secretary Imelda Bore remained, together with four seconded by the government. 

They are CS Treasury, PS Energy and two alternative directors from the two ministries.

Kenya Power is 50.1 per cent owned by the government and is the sole retail distributor of power in the country.

Insiders privy to dealing at the power behemoth told Business Hub the move is part of a wider scheme to get rid of players associated with past infamy.

“There is definitely uncertainty about the whole situation and what is happening on the board.

You cannot say they (independent board members) have been responsible for the shortcomings of the company since it is about collective responsibility of how the business is run,” Muriuki said.

Kenya Power last paid a dividend in 2017 and has since turned into a loss making outfit.

It has been on a downward path, mostly attributed to corruption and poor management, which has also seen several managers lose jobs.

On his part, Kirimi said the new directors are diversified, composed of lawyers, a chartered accountant and engineers “with the potential to make Kenya Power move.”

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