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Twiga Foods picks Jumia Kenya CEO Charles Ballard as its new Chief Executive Officer

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Twiga Foods has appointed Charles Ballard as its new Chief Executive Officer, after the unceremonious exit of its co-founder and CEO Peter Njonjo who took a voluntary six-month sabbatical to focus on personal matters.

Twiga Food’s Chief Operating Officer Laurent Gouault took charge of the firm’s operational and commercial functions while Chief Financial Officer Zuber Momoniata took charge of the firm’s finance & legal functions.

Most recently, Ballard was CEO of Jumia Kenya, a leading e-commerce company, where he led the transformation of the business toward profitability. Ballard has a career spanning over 15 years, of which 9 years in the Kenyan market, Ballard brings a wealth of experience in e-commerce, retail, and financial services.

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According to Hein Pretorius, Chairman of Twiga’s board of directors: “We are delighted to welcome Charles as our new Chief Executive. His deep understanding of the Kenyan e-commerce and retail landscape, his proven operational grip, his entrepreneurial drive, and his passion for the Twiga Foods opportunity make him the ideal leader to steer Twiga into its next phase of growth and success.”

Twiga had a bad 2023 with a near liquidation due to an outstanding debt of $263,691 and job cuts of approximately one-third of its permanent workforce, totaling 283 employees out of their existing 850. The firm also saw the transfer of the 20,000 acre Galana Kulalu Food Security Project to Selu Limited, a company privately owned by Twiga’s Group CEO, Peter Njonjo which raised concerns of conflict of interest among its board members leading to the final exit of Njonjo.

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Welcoming his new appointment as Twiga CEO, Charles, expressed optimism for the opportunity:” I am honoured to lead such a talented team at Twiga Foods during this pivotal time. With our unique value proposition, we are ideally positioned to seize key market opportunities.”

He observed that Twiga Foods was in a good position to enhance its operations, technology, and user experience to create significant value for all stakeholders and the ecosystem. “I am deeply committed to developing our team and fostering a culture of collaboration and excellence that will drive us into our next phase of growth.”, he concluded.

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Charles Ballard was named new Jumia Kenya CEO in April 2023, replacing Juan Seco who left the firm to join fintech player Mukuru. Charles Ballard had been with Jumia Kenya since 2019, when he joined as Head of Performance and Planning, in 2021 he became the Chief Operating Officer overseeing the expansion and deployment of Jumia activities in Kenya. In 2022, he was named Senior Vice President  – Commercials.  

Before joining Jumia, Charles worked as a Retail consultant at Sagaci Research in Kenya from 2015 to 2019, and before as Deputy CFO at ACTED (international humanitarian NGO) from 2012 to 2015. Charles holds a Master’s degree from the ESSEC Business School (France) and a Bsc in International Development from the London School of Economics – UoL/LSE (UK).

Ballard will oversee all aspects of Twiga’s business supported by the other senior leaders – Chief Operating Officer Anjan Dasgupta, Chief Technology Officer Paul Bombo, Chief People Officer Susan Kiama, and Chief Financial Officer Zuber Momoniat. The appointment of a new CEO will bolster Twiga Foods’ ambition to continue to deliver on its mission to transform food supply chains in Africa.

Ballard will compete former Jumia Group executives who raised $8 million to launch Kapu, a new B2C e-commerce startup set to allow customers in Kenyan cities to shop & save on their weekly grocery baskets.

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James Musoba
James Musoba
Studying Africa's startup and technology scene. I always look forward to discovering new exciting inventions and vibrant entrepreneurs.

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