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Smith set to leave Eveready

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – Eveready East Africa has announced the impending retirement of its long serving Chief Executive Officer Steven Smith after a 13 year-stint at the helm of the battery manufacturer.

Mr Smith will officially leave the office on May 31, this year although his replacement has not been made public yet.

"We at Eveready want to thank Mr Smith for his valuable contribution for the past 13 years in Kenya and his 37 years with Energiser Inc. having worked in Indonesia and the United States prior to his time in Kenya," said the company\’s chairman Moody Awori.

He credited him with introducing more product lines into the market, a move that has seen the company manufacture and trade in 100 products under the brand names of Eveready, Energiser and Schick.

The firm is currently finalising plans that will see it launch more competitive products into the regional market.

On his part, the outgoing CEO thanked the Eveready fraternity for the support accorded to him during his tenure and expressed confidence that the board will be able to find a competent person to steer the company to greater heights.

"From the day I joined Eveready in 1998, I have been inspired by the dedication, passion and hard work of the people that I work with and by the goals and missions of this company," Mr Smith said.

"We have worked together as a team and made tremendous achievement and I am proud to say that I will be leaving a dedicated organisation," Mr Smith said.

His tenure will also be remembered as one laden with profit warnings, massive layoffs and a poorly performing share price.

The firm has over the years faced stiff competition from illicit dry cell batteries which in turn affected profitability and growth projections. An increase in global metal prices coupled with a weak Kenyan currency furthered compound their challenges of high production costs.

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The company for instance posted a 69 percent drop in profit after-tax to Sh8.7million for the year ended September 30, 2010.

Despite the challenges facing the dry cell business however, the company hopes that the massive investments into its export business will pay off and contribute significantly towards its bottom line.

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