Mediamax Network Ltd CEO Ian Fernandes has left the media house, which is associated with the Kenyatta family and Deputy President William Ruto.
According to reliable sources, Ferdandes is leaving the DMS Place-headquartered media house to pursue personal interests.
Fernandes joined Mediamax in May 2014 from Nation Media Group where he was the Managing Director, Broadcast and Digital Divisions. Previously, he worked for KTN as Group Technical and Production Director between December 1993 and December 2004.
The former KPMG Information Technology Consultant holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from The University of Nairobi.
Last year, he was elected as the Media Owners Association Treasurer.
During his tenure at DSM Place, he oversaw its expansion including the launch of Kameme TV, Mayian FM, Meru FM and Emoo FM and the recently rebranded Asena FM, previously Pilipili FM as well as the conversion of The People Daily into Kenya’s first free sheet newspaper.
He also cut the newspaper’s pagination from 48 pages to a maximum of 32 pages and phased out the Sunday edition.
During the period, he also presided over the retrenchment of tens of employees, starting with those poached from Citizen TV and KTN by former Executive Chairman Granton Samboja on stellar salaries.
They included Anne Ngugi, Nyatichi Nyasani, Rashid Ronald, Zawadi Mudibo (who later returned before leaving for BBC), Joyce Mkawasi, Caleb Karuga and Yassin Juma.
His departure comes at a time Ruto, who is eyeing the presidency in 2022, is increasing his influence in the media house. Recently, Emoo FM hired former Kass FM Manager Joshua arap Sang in what is seen as a move to enhance the Kalenjin-speaking station’s profile. There has also been talk of a planned launch of Emoo TV.
Mediamax recently restructured its editorial structure with the appointment of Eric Obino as the Editor-in-Chief (Print). Peter Opondo is in now charge of television/digital.
Media watchers believe Fernandes’ successor could come from among the two.