Two directors of troubled Uchumi Supermarkets have opted not to seek re-election as the retail chain’s financial woes appear to be far from over.
According to a notice of an Annual General Meeting (AGM) that has now been slated for March 29, 2018 at Ufungamano Hall in Nairobi, Loius Otieno and Margaret Mwarey Kositany, who will retire at the meeting, have not offered themselves for new terms.
The retail chain’s AGM was initially planned for December 20 last year but was postponed to allow for negotiations with a strategic investor.
“Once the negotiations are concluded, a new day for the Annual General Meeting will be agreed and a formal Notice and the Agenda within the statutory notice period,” Company Secretary Enid Muriuki had said in a notice to shareholders.
Curiously, there is no mention of a strategic investor in the new AGM notice, an indication that there has been no progress in the talks.
Reports had indicated that Uchumi was negotiating with an investor from Asia after a New York-based York-based private equity fund that was also eyeing in a Ksh 3.5 billion stake pulled out.
Uchumi CEO Dr Julius Kipng’etich, who was central to the negotiations, quit last December and has since been appointed regional MD for Jubilee Insurance.
Signs that Uchumi is still in financial doldrums have come to lights after its exited from two prime locations – Capital Centre along Mombasa Road and Sarit Centre in Westlands.
On Wednesday, its employees also downed tools demanding two months salary arrears.
The workers, who converged at its headquarters in Industrial Area, complained the management has never told them when they will be paid.
A Ksh 700 million bail out that Uchumi secured from the government last December, which it used to restock key stores ahead of the festive season, appears not to have made any impact on its balance sheet.
The retail chain plunged further into negative territory in the half year to December reporting a loss of Ksh 895 million, an increase of 63.5% compared to a similar period in 2016.
Mr Otieno holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Long Island University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Mercy College.
He is currently the Director in the Middle East and Africa team responsible for Corporate Affairs with Microsoft 4 Afrika – a strategic initiative aimed at helping Africa accelerate its economic growth and global competitiveness. Previously, he was General Manager East and Southern Africa and Director of Enterprise Sales for East, West and Central Africa at Microsoft Corporation.
A software developer by training and an MBA graduate, Otieno is a former Assistant Vice President at EEC Financial Services in New York and New Jersey, USA. He has served on Kenya’s Vision 2030 Board and was a director at ICT firm Enablis East Africa. He currently sits on the board of Red Media (Nigeria) and is the patron of Kisumu Rugby Football Club, among other responsibilities.
Ms Kositany is an accomplished MBA executive with over 17 years domestic, regional and international experience in marketing, leadership, branding and communication within the mobile telephony and FMCG Industries. She has previously worked for Airtel then called Zain as a Marketing Director and also worked at Unilever as a Brand Manager.
Her profile on the Uchumi website describes her as energetic and results oriented, decisive leader with a track record of increasing revenues, profits, growing market share & building brands in very competitive markets.