Uchumi Supermarket has hired Naivas business development and marketing manager Willy Kimani to be its chief operations officer in a management restructuring intended to turn around the retailer’s fortunes.

Mr Kimani reported to work at Uchumi headquarters yesterday. He will be expected to help the retailer to regain its market share while fixing corporate governance loopholes that have exposed Uchumi to losses.  “I’m happy to join the team that will help rebuild Uchumi. I’m ready to take on the challenge,” said Mr Kimani in an interview.

Uchumi’s board is also set to appoint a new chief executive officer to replace Owino Ayodo, who has been serving in an acting capacity since June when Jonathan Ciano was sacked. Uchumi board signed-up consultancy firm Deloitte to recruit a new chief executive officer.

Mr Kimani joined Naivas Supermarkets five years ago. Naivas is a family-owned business with 35 branches spread across the country. He has also previously held senior positions in Tuskys Supermarkets.  “I had a six-year stint at Tuskys supermarkets and five years at Naivas,” said Mr Kimani.

Uchumi has been on expansion spree across the region but this has not translated into increased sales. The retailer now plans to shed off some jobs as well as close outlets not located in prime areas. It is yet to announce the expected number of stores to be closed down, or the number of staff to be affected.

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