Pick the right person for Kenya Power CEO

Kenya Power workers carry out repair works along Haile Selassie Road, Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Electricity utility firm Kenya Power has moved closer to getting a substantive chief executive, with reports indicating that three candidates have been shortlisted for the position.

The three were among seven individuals interviewed by the board for the job that initially attracted 29 applicants, suggesting that the recruitment process has been competitive up to this stage.

The appointment of a substantive CEO would hopefully end the management instability at Kenya Power that has seen it operate with one since Bernard Ngugi – the fourth person to serve in that position in four years – resigned in August 2021 amid a boardroom fallout.

It is thought that the revolving door at the company’s executive suite discouraged from showing interest in job, prompting the current board to limit its talent search to energy sector insiders.

The board’s next task is even more challenging given it has to pick a CEO with the qualities to turn around the loss-making company while complying with other corporate governance requirements such as ethnic diversity in public service.

But the need for the board to ensure that the right person for the job is eventually appointed cannot be overemphasised.

The firm needs a steady hand to steer it back to profitability and end the perennial financial troubles blamed for unreliable electricity supply to millions of household consumers across the country.

As a utility, Kenya Power is also strategic to the government’s economic goals, including growing manufacturing and small business.

Its management is therefore too important to be put in the wrong hands.

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