Mediamax Networks Ltd employees have written a long letter to the board of directors, revealing negative details about the company’s CEO they hope will convince the board to replace him. In a strongly worded three-page letter, dated 20th January, 2023, the employees who chose to remain anonymous, have chronicled the company’s problems and linked them to Mr Ken Ngaruyia’s management.
Mr Ngaruyia has been under siege in the last few months, culminating in the board sending him on compulsory leave in early January to pave way for investigations into his conduct as CEO. Mr Ngaruiya, who faced claims of financial impropriety, has since resumed duty, but the board has not revealed the findings of the audit.
In the latest onslaught, a section of the employees are calling for Mr Ngaruyia’s sacking, saying that he is “the enemy” of the organization. “In the last three years, the journey in this organization has been the worst in history since inception,” the letter says. “We have been subjected to humiliations, frustrations and lack of respect and a lot of pain to our families by the CEO. He is the one who has put a lot of careers in the drain for his own selfish interest.”
The Mediamax media media outlets include K24 TV, Kameme TV, Kameme FM, Milele FM, Msenangu FM, Emoo FM, Mayian FM, Meru FM, People Daily newspaper and two websites — www.k24tv.co.ke and www.pd.co.ke. The company is majority owned by former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family.
The staff who wrote the letter say they have suffered and been through hell, with some, like a Meru FM presenter, even attempting to take their lives, “due to these issues we are going through.…”
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They accuse the CEO of running the company “like a shop” and reducing middle managers to mere puppets. They said he has suppressed contrary opinion and many do not speak out over issues for fear of being victimized.
The employees asked the board to investigate the media houses lottery programmes, claiming some could be using it for illegal activities such as money laundering. They call for an audit of various TV and radio programmes to seal loopholes through which company resources could be lost.
Mr Ngaruiya, an accountant and a first-class graduate in commerce (accounting) from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, was hired as Mediamax CEO in 2019. His CV includes over 23 years’ experience in the media, advertising and manufacturing industries. He has served in various capacities including COO and Chief Finance Officer at Mediamax, COO Crown Solutions Ltd (Gases) & CFO Red Sky Ltd.
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In their letter, the employees have mentioned the issue of hiring and firing, saying merit is not often the guide, when it comes to remuneration as well. “We have a junior staff getting better pay than senior staff,” the letter says. “Majority are on half salary but a few, in selected sections, are on full pay.”
Employees at Mediamax remain on half pay which was imposed when Covid 19 struck in 2020 to help the company navigate the hard times. It is the only media house that is yet to reinstate full salaries as Nation Media Group, Standard Group, Royal Media Services and Radio Africa Group reverted to full pay soon after Covid-19 was contained
In 2020, Mr Ngaruiya reportedly threatened to fire journalists who had sued the company when their salaries had been reduced despite a court order. Few days later, over 100 journalists were fired through text messages.
Will the employees have their way? That’s the big question as the board considers issues raised against the CEO. But given that Mr Ngaruyia is back from compulsory leave, removing him for the corner office will be an uphill task.
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