Former Deloitte partner Kairo Thuo has landed two directorships in as many months at State-controlled firms, emerging as the new blue-eyed boy of State corporations. Mr Thuo was in late December elected to the Kenya Power board of directors with backing from the State which owns a 50.08 per cent controlling stake at the utility company.
Industrialisation secretary Adan Mohamed late last month also announced that Mr Thuo alongside three others had been appointed to serve as directors of the newly-formed Special Economic Zones Authority-- the successor to the now defunct Export Processing Zones Authority.
The chartered accountant-cum-lawyer also currently serves as a director at mid-sized lender NIC Bank since November 2013, and ICEA Lion Asset Management – both controlled by the wealthy Ndegwa family.
These firms are seeking to tap Mr Thuo’s business skills and networks. He is the man who set up the tax transaction advisory unit at Deloitte & Touche in Kenya.
He left Deloitte to form his own advisory firm named Viva Africa Consulting. He holds a law degree from the University of Nairobi.
Kenya Power chairman Kenneth Marende said the electricity distributor is banking on the skills, expertise and experiences of Mr Thuo to inject fresh ideas to grow the firm.
“We expect to benefit from their competencies,” Mr Marende told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting held on December 23, 2016 in Nairobi.
Mr Mohamed also tapped lawyer Maureen Mujera Ogolla, Chase Bank receiver manager Paul Russo, and Meshak Keter.
The rise of Mr Thuo in Kenya’s corporate boardrooms mirrors the previous success enjoyed by former envoy Dennis Awori who bagged four directorships over a one-year period.
However, Mr Awori was pushed out as chairman of loss-making Kenya Airways following a strike threat by the airline’s pilots. He is now director at troubled TransCentury, Vision 2030 Delivery Board, and chairs a lobby- Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa).
At Kenya Power, Mr Thuo will be part of the team formulating strategies to archive universal electricity access by 2020, and the shift to last-mile fibre connectivity.
He will also be part of the team crafting policies and plans to deal with challenges at the power utility such as constant power outages, defaulted bills, surging power losses, and illegal electricity connections denying the firm revenue.
At the inaugural board of the special economic zones regulator Mr Thuo and his co-directors will be mandated to attract foreign direct investment and position Kenya as a manufacturing hub.