KENYA – Uchumi Supermarkets has raided Equity Bank, tapping Dr Julius Kipng’etich as its new chief executive officer. Dr Kipng’etich was Equity Bank chief operating officer.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the board chairman Khadija Mire said Dr Kipngetich was the best candidate to turn the fortunes of Uchumi Supermarkets around.
“The board is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Kipng’etich who emerged the best from a very competitive recruitment,” Ms Mire said.
The statement further said Mr Kipng’etich will oversee the turnaround of the struggling retailer having experience in leadership and business management needed for the position.
Last week, the troubled retailer, raided Naivas Supermarket’s business development and marketing manager, Mr Willy Kimani.
A letter to the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) yesterday confirmed the appointment Mr Kimani by the Uchumi Board as the new chief operating officer (COO).
The COO position was created to fill the vacuum of the general operations manager previously held by Owino Ayodo who has been the acting CEO.
This comes just two months after chief executive officer Jonathan Ciano and chief financial officer Chadwick Okumu were relieved of their duties.
Human resources manager Michael Kibe was suspended in an announcement made by Ms Mire.
Mr Ciano and Mr Okumu were fired for “gross misconduct and gross negligence” after suppliers stopped delivering goods to the retail chain because they are owed over Sh1 billion.
Uchumi has fallen behind in the race for retail space in Kenya as local and international brands battle it out for Kenya’s middle class consumers.
In June, South Africa’s Massmart launched its first Game branded shop in the Garden City Mall. During the same month, Botswana supermarket, Choppies, announced it had signed a deal to buy 10 outlets from Kenya’s Ukwala Supermarkets.
France’s Carrefour also has plans to launch its supermarket in Kenya at Nairobi’s Two Rivers Mall when it is completed in 2016.