Dr Macharia Irungu will take over at the Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) next week replacing Mr Hudson Andambi, who served as the acting managing director since December 2018 following the arrest and prosecution of the firm’s top brass.
Prior to his appointment in November, Dr Irungu was the managing director at Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation (Gapco).
He takes the helm after a rough year characterised by leadership upheavals that saw more than 100 middle level managers forced to take up acting roles following the arrest of senior managers in two waves late 2019 over the loss of public funds totalling more than Sh660 million.
The loss is said to have happened in the October 2014 procurement of 58 hydrant pit valves to replace the faulty ones at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Mr Andambi would be returning to the Ministry of Mining and Petroleum, where he is the Senior Principal Superintending Geologist and Head of Upstream Petroleum Operations in the Directorate of Petroleum. He also serves as the Deputy to the Secretary, Petroleum.
At the time of his appointment as interim boss, he was the alternate director representing the Ministry at the KPC board.
He took over KPC on December 7, the day its former MD Joe Sang was arrested by detectives.
Mr Sang resigned on December 4 and was arrested a few days later over alleged corruption involving construction of the Sh1.8 billion Kisumu oil jetty.
“You are all a great team and I will have an opportunity to interact with some of you on January 2, 2020 when I will be handing over the button to the incoming managing director Dr Macharia Irungu, whom I urge you to offer your support fully,” said Mr Andambi in memo addressed to staff, a copy which has been seen by the Business Daily. The handover has however been postponed to next week.
Mining and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes appointed the Gapco MD on November 29 after he emerged top in interviews that had attracted 88 applicants.
KPC board forwarded three names to Mr Munyes – Dr Irungu, Leparan Ole Morintant and Erick Odipo.
Save for Mr Odipo, the Multichoice Kenya boss, the two others are oil and gas sector insiders.
Dr Irungu has nearly three decades experience in the sector and has served as a commissioner of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).
Editor's Note: Story has been corrected to indicate that the handover was postponed to next week. The earlier version stated Dr Irungu had taken over.