KENYA – New KCC managing director Kipkirui Langat is set to leave the dairy firm next year, at a time when the company is in the process of selling the State-owned firm to private investors.

The announcement, made on Monday, comes six months to the official date when Mr Langat is supposed to officially leave office.

“The current managing director of the New KCC will be retiring from employment in March 2015, in order to have a smooth transition, the process of competitive resourcing of a new MD will begin this month,” said the firm’s chairman Matu Wamae in a statement.

Dr Langat took over as the milk processor’s chief in March 2011 for a three-year term that was extended last year by the Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, Mr Adan Mohamed, for 12 months.

The Privatisation Commission is working on the sale of New KCC, with the government keen to offer farmers a 42 per cent stake, employees four per cent, while 42 per cent is to be floated at the Nairobi bourse. The government is interested in retaining a 20 per cent stake.

However, privatisation of the firm has remained a challenge, with farmers not agreeing with the allocation of shares. The milk producers want to hold at least 80 per cent stake in the company.

Dr Langat said in an interview on Monday his retirement will give him time “to engage on other developmental matters.”

“I do not think I can speak to the media at this point, but it is true I am proceeding on retirement,” said Mr Langat.

A veterinary professional and a PhD holder, Mr Langat joined New KCC after Francis Mwangi, the current Murang’a governor, had exited the firm. The firm had gone for more than a year without an MD.

New KCC launched a Sh14 milk packet during Mr Langat’s tenure as he sought to grow the processor’s market share in the competitive dairy business which has been characterised by acquisitions from other players.

The 100ml ‘Long Life’ milk packet targets the low-end market as well as urban consumers seeking milk products on the go. His tenure also saw the firm pay farmers one of the highest prices of Sh40 per litre of the milk delivered.

New KCC was initially owned by dairy farmers until it ran into financial problems in the 1990s. The government bought it in 2004 and restructured it.

October 14, 2014;