A ray of hope is shining on Standard Group after newly appointed acting CEO Joe Muneno offered the first step in his not-so-clear roadmap to recovery. The CEO, at a meeting held on Wednesday, revealed that new operational structures are being worked on across the organisation to increase efficiency and weed out non-performers.
Speaking at his first staff communication meeting since being appointed Mr Munene particularly warned under-performing managers, those embezzling funds and support departments that mistreat others, saying their days are number. As per the theme of the meeting – ‘If the rhythm of the drums changes, the dance steps must adapt’ – he told them to either change or be shipped out.
Mr Munene was perhaps talking about support departments such as transport/logistics and finance, to mention the two notorious ones, which frustrate other departments by denying or delaying services. According to insiders at Standard Centre, TV crews, for instance, have on several occasions been forced to spend nights in OB vans due to delayed disbursement of per diems.
“Let’s show care and treat people well,” Mr Munene said. “Let’s hold each other accountable on performance. My office is open for all who’ve got issues.”
Meanwhile, in what could hurt most employees in the short term, Mr Munene froze all pending salaries but promised to start paying full salaries at the end of September. Standard employees have been receiving 20% of their salaries with the balance paid in small instalments in the course of time.
The company has found itself in a financial crisis, after recording losses for three years running, with debts eating into its revenues. The board was recently forced to replace Orlando Lyomu as CEO to reset things at Kenya’s oldest newspaper company.
A team has been set up to guide the company out of the current situation and hopefully bring it back to profitability.
The uncertainty has seen a number of journalists bolt out, fearing for their careers. But with a new CEO, there is some hope among employees that things may return to normalcy, albeit slowly.