The transition of leadership in family businesses is a significant concern, with many failing due to improper structures and a lack of succession plans. According to the latest Knight Frank Wealth Report 2022, Kenyan billionaires report even greater concerns about succession, with around 31% of millionaires citing it as a threat to their wealth, compared with a global average of 20%.
Who is Mary-Ann Musangi? Meet the daughter of late Kenyan billionaire Chris Kirubi who now runs the business empire
Mary-Ann Musangi has taken on the challenge of leading her family's business empire following the passing of her father, the late Kenyan businessman Chris Kirubi, in June 2021. With interests spanning across media, manufacturing, real estate, and technology, the family's holdings in listed and unlisted firms on the Nairobi Securities Exchange are estimated to be worth around Sh40 billion.
Despite the challenges of taking over businesses managed and run by such an iconic personality as her father, Musangi is committed to ensuring that the businesses continue to thrive and support their employees. In an interview with Business Daily Africa, she revealed that she had already been involved in running the businesses during her father's cancer treatment, and she had to win over the trust of the employees who had been loyal to her father for years.
“It’s not like he passed away, and then I came and took over. I was running them [businesses] already. I sat on the boards of the companies as a director before he fell sick,” she says.
When asked about her experience since taking over the business, Musangi explained that she had developed strategies with the teams left by her father, and they know where the businesses are headed. She said, “I wanted to learn more about his businesses. With my business acumen from working for multinationals, I wanted to understand his businesses and how they would sit in comparison to the multinationals that I was working with.”
“Ever since I was young, I have always loved business. I always knew that I would be a business person, and I always knew that I would take over his businesses.” She added that her experience building her own ventures, including a restaurant and catering business, has prepared her well for the challenges of running her family's businesses.
Speaking on how she was inducted into the business, Musangi revealed that her father had always emphasised the importance of a good education, and he never directly inducted her into the business. According to her, she picked up a lot of learning and experience from him by listening to his business conversations with colleagues, serving them drinks and food, and asking questions. Her interest in the business drove her to learn from her father and prepare herself for taking over the family's empire.
The challenges of succeeding in a family business are significant, but Musangi is committed to maintaining her father's legacy and ensuring the continued success of the family's ventures.
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