Ogilvy chief executive quits to pursue other interests

Mr Koome Mwambia,
Mr Koome Mwambia,  

Mr Koome Mwambia, the chief executive of Ogilvy Kenya, has exited the media services firm to run his outfit that will rival the parent company ScanGroup.

His exit comes barely two years after ScanGroup — half of Ogilvy East Africa in a cash and share transaction worth Sh234 million — made Mr Mwambia the ninth largest shareholder of the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Ogilvy did not disclose reasons behind the exit, but Mr Mwambia indicated on his website that he will make a return on the public relations and advertising scene as a strategic investor, a pointer that he would battle with his former employer for control of Kenya’s media service industry. Last week. Mr Mwambia dismissed talk of his exit, arguing that he was yet to complete his four year contract; a position that was supported by Bharat Thakrar, the CEO of ScanGroup and the chair of Ogilvy Kenya.

Take an early exit

“The Board of Ogilvy Kenya has announced that it has accepted Koome Mwambia’s decision to take an early exit as CEO and director of the company,” said Ogilvy in statement quoting Mr Thakrar.

Mr Mwambia followed up the statement with a personal note:  “I intend to re-join the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) industry as a strategic investor… to help ‘pull together and guide local and international investors eyeing the sector both in Kenya and in the region,” said Mr Mwambia.

It’s not clear whether Mr Mwambia will start operations from scratch or buy into an already exit firm, but observes reckon that he could be interested in a new publicity outfit dubbed Media Edge PR that is being run by a former Ogilvy manager Alfred Ng’ang’a.

Reduced stake

“It is premature to talk about my next move since I am still working with the board to ensure a seamless transition,” said Mr Mwambia in a telephone interview Wednesday. Mr Thakrar said the new head of Ogilvy Kenya will be announced in coming days.

Mr Mwambia has emerged as one of the key beneficiaries of the Scangroup/Ogilvy deal that has seen the value of his investments appreciate.

In October, Mr Mwambia reduced his stake in the marketing communication agency to 0.99 per cent from 1.33 per cent in December last year, earning Sh12 million from the sale of more than 300,000 share shares. This marked the first sale after the expiry of the one year lock-in period. The remaining shares are locked in for a period of between two and four years since August 2010.

Under the Scangroup/Ogilvy deal, he was paid Sh20.6 million and given 3.1 million shares in ScanGroup in exchange for his 22 per cent stake in Ogilvy East Africa.

His stake is now worth Sh117.4 million, which is higher than the early valuation of his 22 per cent stake at Sh103 million in spite of receiving Sh20.6 million cash and selling shares worth Sh12 million.