Polycarp Igathe has quit his position as CEO of Vivo Energy Kenya, operator of Shell outlets, after being named as running mate for Nairobi governor seat aspirant Mike Sonko.
The announcement Wednesday by Mr Igathe appeared to have been an abrupt change of mind after the company had stated that he would stay at the company’s corner office until the August 8 General Election.
“I have taken a leap of faith; I have left a job in the private sector to come into the political arena because I represent all small, medium and big business interests who clearly know this city is 60 per cent of the GDP of our country. It can no longer be left in the hands of people who have no clue,” said Mr Igathe at the Jubilee party headquarters in Nairobi.
There are no regulations that compel private sector workers to quit their jobs to join politics.
Industrial Court judge Njagi Marete in February suspended a law that requires public officers to quit office six months to a General Election, saying they should only leave after party primaries.
In a staff memo, Mr Igathe revealed he had spoken to Christian Chammas, group CEO of Vivo Energy about his political ambitions.
“Christian has given me his full support and I am excited about the opportunity to move into a political career,” he told employees.
Some of Mr Igathe’s roles will be undertaken by David Mureithi, executive vice president at Vivo, according to the leaked memo. Vivo Energy has 180 outlets in Kenya.
“Naturally I will need to spend some time campaigning over the next three months. David Mureithi has agreed to provide additional support to Vivo Energy Kenya, as required.”
Billionaire businessman Bundotich Kiprop, who is contesting to be Uasin Gishu governor as an independent, is still serving as group executive director at his logistics company Buzeki.
Patrick Wainaina continues serving as CEO of Jungle Nuts, a macadamia nuts processor in Thika, despite running to be Thika Town MP.