Kakuzi Plc, a listed agricultural firm, has appointed Nicholas Nganga as its Board Chairman with immediate effect. He takes over from Graham Mclean, who has stepped down from the position but remains a non-executive director.
Nganga is the former Safaricom Board Chairman. Changes at the boardroom of Kakuzi follows a series of boycotts of its supplies to UK retail stores, Sainsbury and Lidl and Tesco over allegations of human rights abuses by the Kenyan firm.
Kakuzi has also appointed Dr John Kibunga Kimani, one of its largest individual shareholders-to sit on the board as a non-executive director starting from 1st November, 2020.
Dr Kimani, an astute investor in listed stocks, has extensive experience in the agriculture sector, including planning, development and administration of smallholder agricultural extension programs, developing and managing smallholder irrigation projects and preparing extended range plans for land and water resources across Kenya.
He led the planning team in the Tana and Athi river basins, embracing six districts of what were Central, Eastern and Coast provinces.
He has worked with Government agricultural projects aided by the World Bank, SNV of the Netherlands, JICA of Japan, DANIDA of Denmark and GTZ of Germany.
A fellow of the Economic Development Institute of the World Bank, Dr Kimani has a BSc in Agriculture (Makerere University), MSc in Agricultural Economics (Reading University, UK) and PhD in Development Studies, Economics and Social Anthropology (University of Sussex UK). He is a member of the Agricultural Society of Kenya as well as a member of the Avocado Exporters Association of Kenya.
Dr Kimani also holds considerable stakes in Nation Media Group, East African Breweries and Safaricom.
One year ago, Kimani bought additional shares in Kakuzi at a market value of KSh 101 Million, raising his shareholding in the listed agricultural firm to 32%.
Kakuzi is a Kenyan based firm with interests in the growing of tea, cultivation of avocados, livestock farming, growing of pineapples, trees, and macadamia fruits.
The firm has also ventured into the planting of blueberries which are sold fresh.
After suffering adverse publicity in the UK, Kakuzi is establishing an Independent Human Rights Advisory Committee (IHRAC), which will comprise experienced and distinguished individuals from the human rights sector.
Andrew Ndegwa Njoroge, a non-executive independent director of Kakuzi Plc, will sit on the IHRAC.
“Kakuzi sells its products both locally and across the world. We must always ensure our corporate policies and human rights processes evolve to accommodate feedback and input from our employees, communities and other stakeholders, wherever they are based,” said Nicholas Nganga.