Kenya's largest retail chain hires former Tesco executive to lead it back to profitability

As part of the turn-around strategy, it has reshuffled its top management structure and fired a number of top executives.

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Nakumatt holdings, which has struggled over the past years to remain afloat, late last year hired global retail services corporate strategist, Outram Cullinan & Company to help it turn around its fortune by developing a ten-year growth plan.

As part of the turn-around strategy, it has reshuffled its top management structure and fired a number of top executives. Long-serving regional operations and strategy director, Thiagarajan Ramamurthy has for instance been let go, the retail chain said on Friday.

“The departure of Ramamurthy comes at a defining moment in the history of Nakumatt and we sincerely wish to extend our gratitude for his service to this organization,” Nakumatt Holdings managing director Atul Shah said.

Andrew Dixon, a former executive at UK’s Tesco – the world’s third largest retailer by profitability who was hired on January 19 to replace Ramamurthy has officially taken over as the new chief marketing officer.

The family-owned retail chain, last year admitted it was facing challenges in settling supplier dues which has led to the supermarket chain’s rising debt burden.

In 2016 is announced it was seeking a strategic investor to buy 25 per cent or more of its stakes in order to stay afloat. This is a result of suffering a Sh1.6 billion loss due to the ongoing construction of Hazina towers at its Lifestyle branch.

The chain told a parliamentary hearing that the 39-storey Hazina Trading Centre was keeping off its customers as it posed a noise pollution as well as a security risk.

Shah on Friday confirmed the firm has adopted a new performance-based management strategy, geared at enhancing corporate governance and customer delivery excellence as part of the ongoing restructuring programme.

The strategy, he said, will feature a new group and regional management structure featuring chief officers at the Nairobi regional headquarters complemented by country management teams in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

The regional retailer with 61 stores across East Africa has also confirmed the appointment of Srihari Vemula as the chief operations manager joining Nakumatt from Omani-based Khimji Ramdas Group.

The managerial changes at the firm’s group level include the appointment of Manoj Singh as the new group financial controller, whose role will be the provision of corporate finance leadership in close collaboration with the branch and headquarters’ finance teams.

“At less than 18 per cent retail penetration in East Africa, the market opportunity is wide open for Nakumatt, to double or even triple its market share with renewed corporate energy and vigour,” Shah said.

The changes have not affected country managers in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Outram Cullinan & Company is in the final stages of injecting $75 million into the country’s largest retailer by market share.

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