Unga Group Plc on Monday, September 6 named Joseph Malel Choge as the incoming Group Managing Director of the company, with the appointment to take effect on December 31, 2021.
Choge replaces Nicholas ‘Nick’ Hutchinson whose retirement from the group is also effective December 31, 2021. Hutchinson will continue to serve the milling firm in an advisory capacity for an unspecified period of time to ensure a smooth transition.
Choge joins Unga Group from Premier Foods Ltd (Peptang) where he was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
He is an experienced corporate figure, particularly in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) sector having previously enjoyed stints in senior roles at Unilever, Airtel Gabon and Industrial Promotion Services (IPS).
Hutchinson has been at the helm of the company for two decades.
“The Board takes this opportunity to thank Nick for his significant contribution, dedication, guidance, sound advice, and commitment to the company over his many years of service and wishes him the very best in his retirement,” a notice from Unga Group read in part.
Choge will be responsible for steering the company as it reshapes its strategy to suit the times. Unga Group earlier this year exited the bakery business for the second time in its history with the sale of Ennsvalley Bakery to a logistics company.
The move intended to cut costs was attributed to rising wheat prices in the international mrket, the high cost of production for bread and falling demand for it as consumers’ purchasing power reduced.
Kenya gets more than 75 per cent of its annual wheat requirements from the international market.
Unga Group had acquired Ennsvalley in 2014 in a bid to diversify its income. In the 90’s, it had exited the bakery business for the first time to focus on milling of maize and wheat flour when it sold its stake in Elliots Bakery.