Bill Lay takes up new position at KK Security

Bill Lay during an interview with journalists in Nairobi in June 2009. FILE
Bill Lay during an interview with journalists in Nairobi in June 2009. FILE 

Former chief executive of troubled motor firm CMC Holdings, Bill Lay, has taken up a job as head of KK Security’s oil and gas division.

Mr Lay was hired on May 3 as an executive of the regional security firm, which is seeking a piece of Kenya’s oil exploration business by offering specialised services like offshore security, accommodation, and logistics to mining companies at remote sites.

Mr Lay quit CMC on April 30 after serving for two years where he sparked a shareholder war that caused the ouster of a number of directors and strained the company’s dealings with key suppliers.

“The board of directors believe that KK Security can play an active role in the development of the oil & gas industry in East Africa,” said a staff memo signed by Derek Oatway, chairman and majority shareholder at KK Security.

The company is targeting promising business in petroleum blocks following Kenya’s first oil discovery in March last year by British explorer Tullow Oil.
The find follows oil and gas discoveries in East Africa that have made the region more attractive to explorers.

Most of the blocks are located in remote areas and KK Security is looking to offer services that include accommodation, waste management, and laundry besides providing safety training, protection of executives, and guarding exploration installations.

The new division will help the firm to diversify its income streams and reduce the share of revenue generated from guarding services to 30 per cent from the current 60 per cent.

The establishment of local bases by foreign firms like Tullow, Italy’s Eni, and US’ Anadarko and Apache is boosting the outlook of service providers eyeing the oil and mineral sectors.

Besides guarding, KK security’s other divisions include cash-in-transit services, alarm operations, as well as the fire and rescue unit.

Mr Lay joins KK Security in the wake of a major shake-up of the firm’s management team, which has led to the exit of a number of executives and the appointment of Adam Miller, former regional managing director of G4S East Africa, as commercial director.

KK Security and G4S East Africa have been locked in a vicious battle for control of the regional security market with their focus on local companies, multinationals, and diplomatic organisations.

Mr Lay, who moved to CMC from General Motors East Africa, had been at the centre of boardroom wars that forced the motor firm to replace nearly all its directors.

Mr Lay, an American citizen who has lived in Kenya for more than 30 years, kicked up a storm at CMC upon taking office in May 2011 when he accused Peter Muthoka’s company Andy Forwarders of overcharging the motor dealer for logistics services to the tune of Sh1.5 billion in five years. Mr Muthoka is the top shareholder at CMC Motors.

He also claimed that former directors of CMC, including former attorney-general Charles Njonjo and former head of civil service Jeremiah Kiereini, had stolen the firm’s money and kept it in secret offshore accounts.

The sensational claims forced the Capital Markets Authority to launch its own investigations into the firm. The investigations have since culminated in the barring of a number of ex-CMC directors from sitting on boards of public companies.