Naikuni will head a board that has been reconstituted following recent shareholder restructuring at the regional rail operator.
“RVR’s recent achievements and the full funding of its investment and growth plan, demonstrates that it is now uniquely positioned to become a high performing railway network that can spur trade and economic growth in the region,” Naikuni said while commenting on his appointment.
“I am excited about this opportunity to work with the board and staff to build a robust and efficient rail transport solution which is the backbone of a thriving economy,” Naikuni added.
His appointment comes at a time when RVR is at the midpoint of a Sh25 billion capital investment and turnaround programme that began in January 2012 to revitalise the rail firm that had been ailing from years of neglect and underfunding.
In the 26 months since the start of the renewal programme the company has invested Sh11 billion against the required Sh3.5 billion.
The funds are being used to rehabilitate their operation by installing modern rail operating technology, rebuilding infrastructure, expanding haulage capacity and developing modern rail operating skills in the 2,400 strong workforce.
Installation of satellite tracking and GPS-based technology on all trains helped cut cargo transit times between Mombasa and Nairobi by six hours.
“To have such a seasoned and transformational business leader chair the RVR board is a big win for the company,” RVR leading shareholder and chairman of Qalaa Holdings Ahmed Heikal said.
Naikuni joined the Kenya Airways as group CEO in 2003 and spearheaded growth in one of the most noteworthy African airline. Prior to joining the national carrier Naikuni was group managing director of the Magadi Soda Company.
In 1999 he was appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Transport and Communication as part of a team of experts engaged by government to drive economic reform.
His extensive boardroom experience spans the energy, mining, real estate, banking, film, manufacturing and ITC sectors.