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UAP changes chief executive after closure of public offer

UAP Holdings Limited Group Deputy Managing Director Dominic Kiarie during a press briefing in Nairobi. He will be taking over as CEO from January next year. Photo/DIANA NGILA
UAP Holdings Limited Group Deputy Managing Director Dominic Kiarie during a press briefing in Nairobi. He will be taking over as CEO from January next year. Photo/DIANA NGILA   Nation Media Group

UAP Holdings Managing Director James Muguiyi will step down from the firm at the end of the year, which has seen the financial services firm sell a 45.76 per cent stake to private equity firms and outsiders through a public offering.

He will be replaced by the firm’s deputy managing director, Mr Dominic Kiarie, 42, who joined the firm last August from British American Investments Company.

Mr Muguiyi, 69, who owns a six per cent stake in the firm worth Sh761 million, will remain a non-executive director in the company that he has served for three decades.

“The board has appointed Mr Kiarie as the new managing director of UAP Holdings Limited and the group managing director of UAP Group with effect from January 1, 2013,” said UAP in a statement.

The announcement came two days after the company closed its Sh750 million public offer that saw it sell 12.5 million shares to investors who could afford a minimum subscription of Sh120, 000.

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The offer saw the conversion of a Sh4.7 billion debt into equity by private equity (PE) funds Aureos Africa Fund, AfricInvest Fund and Swedfund International AB, earning the PE funds a combined stake of 37.3 per cent.

The funds will help UAP spread its reach across Africa and deepen its activities in the region’s thriving property market, diversifying its portfolio away from the equities market and the insurance business.

Shepherding listing

“His immediate task will revolve around the efficient execution of the group’s strategy to ensure achievement of its vision of being the most revolutionary pan-African financial services group,” said UAP in reference to Mr Kiarie.

He will also shepherd the listing of the company, which announced it will debut on the Nairobi Securities Exchange in the next 12 to 18 months.

Mr Kiarie left Britam with a wealth of experience in asset management, having helped to set up the business at the firm in 2004.

UAP hopes Mr Kiarie will help diversify its sources of income to a point where the insurance business will be contributing only 50 per cent of total profits.

In 2008, Mr Kiarie courted controversy when he expressed interest to be chief executive of Old Mutual before making a U-turn even after the rival firm publicly announced him as the new head to replace Stewart Henderson.

He lasted in his new position for a few days before he took back his position at Britam, disrupting Old Mutual’s succession plans and saving Britam the problem of seeking his replacement.

“In a move that exhibits the hallmarks of a planned management succession ...” said UAP,  pointing that they hired Mr Kiarie as deputy managing director to understudy Mr Muguiyi.

Mr Kiarie graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Actuarial Science from Cass Business School in England and holds a Masters Degree in Mathematical Finance from the University of Cambridge, also in England.

Mr Muguiyi exit comes in a year when corporate Kenya has witnessed a high CEO turnover.

Already this year, 11 chief executives of firms listed at the NSE have left or are planning to leave, making it one the highest CEO turnover in the history of the NSE.

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