, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – Uchumi Supermarkets has poached Naivas Supermarkets Retail Business Executive Willy King’ara to be the new Chief Operating Officer (COO).
The appointment of King’ara, an economics graduate from the University of Nairobi, is the first in a number of key positions including that of the CEO, Chief Finance Officer and Head of Human Resources, left vacant following recent management changes.
While at Naivas Supermarkets King’ara was in charge of business development, marketing and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) over the last five years.
Prior to that he had a six year stint at Tusky’s Supermarkets where he spearheaded its expansion and rebranding among other roles.
Uchumi Supermarkets Board Chairperson Khadija Mire said the appointment of King’ara is part of the company’s effort to fast-track its turnaround process by improving governance and operational efficiency.
“Willy has an outstanding track record in leading business growth and repositioning in the retail sector in this country and brings on board essential leadership expertise that is key for the success of our turnaround strategy,” said Mire.
Mire said the board was at an advanced stage of recruiting a new Chief Executive Officer and would unveil the successful candidate in the next few weeks.
The board had stated it planned to hire a new Chief Executive, CFO, Company Secretary and Human Resource Manager by October, 1, 2015.
“We want to finalise the process as soon as possible so that the rest of the business re-organisation can continue in earnest,” said Mire.
He is well versed in the shop-in-shop concept, in-store branding, supply chain management and customer loyalty management programmes all of which will be key to returning Uchumi to its past glory.
“I am very excited to be a part of such a big brand and cannot wait to get cracking. Uchumi has a great future and I am confident we can elevate it to international standards,” commented King’ara.
Uchumi has also halted its growth plans after noting that the expansion was conducted without internal capacity or funding.
The retail chain had plans to open eight retail branches across East Africa in a bid to competitively and strategically position their business targeting entries into Rwanda and Burundi.
The retail chain will be relooking at the Tanzania and Ugandan markets which may result in closure of some stores but however will not exit the market as they believe in the opportunities available as well as its brand offering.