Brand Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mary Luseka has been sacked over what the state agency’s board terms as “poor people management skills.”  Ms Luseka, who took over the mantle from Mary Kimonye nearly two years ago, has been acting since her appointment in March 2016.

Ms Luseka has previously been accused of insulting employees and interdicting staff who were opposed to her management style. She confirmed receiving her termination letter on 16th May. The board has appointed head of finance Floice Mukabana, who was holding brief while Ms Luseka was on leave, as the acting chief executive.

“While away on leave, I received a letter on May 16th signed by one of the directors on behalf of the board purporting to terminate my employment on the basis of clause 27 of my employment contract that allows either party to terminate at will in lieu of notice,” Ms Luseka confirmed to the Business Daily. “No ground whatsoever was provided in the letter as the basis for the purported termination.”

Ms Luseka’s management style came into the spotlight in May last year after she sacked over 14 managers in a span of just a few months. Those sent home at the time included, among others, marketing director Dr Nzilu Musyoki, communications director Wanjiru King’ara, the human resources manager as well as procurement manager.

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The reason for the massive shake-up was not revealed, but insiders pointed to house-cleaning by the new CEO targeting those opposed to her.

Ms Luseka, however, says she went on annual leave on 18th April and was scheduled to return to work on 6thJune. “As I proceeded on annual leave, I handed over to the head of finance as acting CEO for the leave period. The allegations therefore that I was sent home for insulting employees and poor performance are false,” she said.

Ms Luseka has more than 10 years’ experience in strategy and marketing at the local, regional and international level. Before her appointment, she was the head of strategy and planning at the Kenya Tourism Board where she oversaw the development of new tourism marketing strategy.

Her predecessor, Mary Kimonye, had served in the board for six years since its inception.

Ms Luseka has also previously worked at KCB Group and Gulf African Bank. She holds an MBA from the Strathmore Business School with the Pan African certification from IESE Business School in Spain, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Sociology from the University of Nairobi, a Diploma in Marketing from the Marketing Society of Kenya and CPA 1 & 2 qualifications.

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When she joined Brand Kenya, she had said her passion was to transform Kenya into a competitive global brand, which she opined calls for all industry players, organisations and the citizenry to be and to act in manner that is distinct, competitive and most importantly, authentic Kenyan. Did she fail her own test?

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