On May 23, after 15 years of service as Bharti Airtel Kenya Chairman, Mr. Naushad N. Merali announced his retirement. Mr. Merali had served as the chairman of the company from its begining as the founder of Kencell, now Airtel Kenya.
Today, Airtel announced the appointment of Dr. Titus Naikuni as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Airtel Kenya.
Dr. Naikuni, holds a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nairobi. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Management Development Programme and was awarded a Doctor of Science Engineering by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, an honorary award in recognition of his contribution to development.
He joined the Magadi Soda Company (now Tata Chemicals Magadi Limited) in 1979 and rose to the position of Managing Director of the company in 1995. Between August 1999 and March 2001 Dr. Naikuni was a member of a team of World Bank sponsored Kenyan technocrats, known as the “Dream Team” who were engaged to turn around the Kenyan economy. In this capacity Dr. Naikuni served as permanent secretary to the Ministry of Information, Transport and Communications and was a member of the Board of Kenya Airways during that period. He returned to Magadi Soda Company in April 2001 where he continued to serve as Managing Director, a position he held up to his appointment with Kenya Airways in February 2003.
In a statement, Mr. Christian de Faria, CEO – Airtel Africa, said: “We are pleased to have Dr. Naikuni on the Board. His wealth of experience will add immense value to the Board and provide strategic guidance to our operations in Kenya, to enable Airtel gain an important place in the Telecom sector in the country.”
Dr. Naikuni, has had extensive boardroom experience having previously served on various company boards, including as a member of the board of Brunner Mond (South Africa), as Chairman of the Kenya Power & Lighting Company, Chairman of Housing Finance Company Limited, Board member of CFC Bank, Board member of Heritage Insurance, Board member of the Kenya Airways Group of Companies and on the IATA Board of Governors, amongst others. He is currently a board member of Maersk Kenya Ltd, Access Kenya Ltd, East Africa Portland Cement Company, Precision Air Tanzania, deputy Chairman of Magadi Soda Company Ltd, a member of Lafarge International Advisory Board and Chancellor South Eastern Kenya University. He received the Manager of the Year Award for Kenya in 2002.