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Sam Shollei’s surprise career move

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Former Standard Group CEO Sam Shollei has joined Keroche Breweries as managing director.

Shollei left the Mombasa Road-based media house two months ago after allegedly falling out with Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who represents the interests of the Moi family, the company’s main shareholder.

However, during a recent farewell party, he denied the reports, saying he left at his own volition.

Speaking to Business Today, Shollei confirmed he has joined Keroche Breweries as a director. Before joining Standard Group, Mr Shollei was the Director-Group Business Development at Nation Media Group.

Mr Shollei also served as the managing director of Tanzania’s Mwananchi Communications, an NMG subsidiary.

He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Nairobi and an MBA from the University of Nairobi.

Keroche Breweries is a family-owned company co-owned by James Karanja and his wife, Mrs Tabitha Karanja, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer.

The Sholleis are close family friends of the Karanjas and attend most of each other’s social functions. Mrs Karanja appears to have tapped his skills to actualise her aspirations to launch operations across the continent.

He will be the second media CEO to be tapped by Keroche Breweries after Paul Wanyagah, who was in 2014 appointed managing director as the company readied to embark on regional operations.

Wanyagah, formerly the CEO of Mediamax Network Ltd and Standard Group and before then a senior manager at EABL, however, left soon after in unclear circumstances. He is now the CEO of Kenya Markets Trust.

In a previous interview, Mrs Karanja, who co-owns Keroche Breweries with her husband, James Karanja, said she was targeting to fully increase its market share in Kenya to 30% and 20% in the spirit and beer markets respectively before exploring the East African market and finally going African.

ALSO SEE: After returning Standard, Sam Shollei turns to growing revenue

“My dream is to see Keroche grow to the whole of Africa,” she said.

The home grown brewer has over the years defied competition from industry giant, East African Breweries, and multinationals, high taxation and State interference to turn into a multi-billion venture.

In 2015, the company received a loan of Ksh 5 billion to expand production levels of its signature Summit beer from Barclays Bank from 10 million litres per year to 110 million litres.

In 2010, Mrs Karanja was honoured by former President Mwai Kibaki with a Moran of Burning Spear (MBS) for contribution to liberalizing the liquor market in Kenya.



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