Top 25 CEOs setting the business agenda in 2021

Rita holds directorships in various companies and business associations, including Bamburi Cement, a listed firm on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Association (KVMA), the East African Business Council (EABC) and Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMIA) as Chair.

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Rita Kavashe (MBS)

MD & CEO, ISUZU EAST AFRICA

In Kosovo in the slum area of Mathare handing over 1,000 litre hand washing water tanks to the community to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus in the densely populated and vulnerable communities. With Rebecca Mbithi, MD Family Bank signing an asset finance partnership agreement to cushion and enable persons, businesses and communities needing vehicles to prop up the mode of transport.

Presenting a sports sponsorship to marathon record holder and Isuzu D-Max Brand Ambassador Eliud Kipchoge to support and market built in Kenya products. In a CSR Tree Planting activity assisted by Dr Isaac Kalua, Chairman of Green Africa Foundation to plant a tree in Muumandu Hills, Machakos County as part of Isuzu EA adopting 70 ha of the locality for afforestation over the next ten years.

With members of the Lionesses rugby team in a celebratory mood following the completion of the first phase of a CSR Livelihoods Project sponsored by Isuzu EA at the RFUEA grounds on Ngong Road, Rita Kavashe’s bubbly spirit, light-heartedness and occasional full burst of laughter, is visibly noticeable, even with the COVID-19 N95 protective face mask.

Rita joined General Motors East Africa (GMEA) in 1995. Prior to her current position as MD, Rita has occupied senior positions in Sales and Marketing in both Kenya and South Africa.  In 2010, Rita was appointed the first woman director in Kenya of a leading firm in the motor industry when she became the Managing Director. Since then, she has implemented best global strategies and practices that improved ISUZU’s competitiveness and gained customers in a highly competitive commercial vehicles sector in the motor industry. This resulted in Isuzu’s market share rising steadily from 24.3% (in 2011) to 39.1% in 2018.

In 2017, Rita led the company through a successful transition from GM East Africa to Isuzu East Africa. The process was conducted smoothly with key stakeholders appraised regularly on the change of shareholding, company name and overall business continuity.

Isuzu EA has remained dominant in the Kenyan auto industry maintaining its top position 7 years in a row. As at November 2020, Isuzu commanded 46.5% of the new commercial vehicles market segment and 39.4% of the total new vehicles market year to date (YTD).

 The company continues to provide thought leadership in the industry by advocating for progressive government and supportive policy for the growth of local motor assembly in order to expand the country’s manufacturing base.

Rebecca Mbithi, MD Family bank (L) and Rita Kavashe MD Isuzu EA(R) present the signed asset finance partnership agreement on 29th June, 2020.

Rita holds directorships in various companies and business associations, including Bamburi Cement, a listed firm on the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Association (KVMA), the East African Business Council (EABC) and Kenya Motor Industry Association (KMIA) as Chair. She is a long serving Vice-Chair of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA).

In Public Service, Rita Kavashe is the current Chairperson of the Kenya Roads Board and a Member of the Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Board.

On 12th December 2017, Rita was awarded the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) by President Uhuru Kenyatta for exemplary service to the country in her capacity as a business leader.

Rita has been mentoring young girls and women from diverse backgrounds. In November 2018, she received her certification as an Executive Coach from the Academy of Executive Coaches (AOEC) UK to strengthen her capacity coaching corporate leaders and executives.

World marathon record holder and Isuzu D-Max Brand Ambassador Eliud Kipchoge (L) with Isuzu EA MD Rita Kavashe (R) present the endorsed one-year partnership agreement at a ceremony held at Isuzu EA Plant on 22nd October, 2020.

Rita Kavashe made history in 2020 when she was appointed an independent director of BAT Kenya in July and crowned chair of the board in October, a space of months, a testament of her high standing and integrity in walking the talk of good corporate governance practice and excellence in board dynamics and leadership, the same traits that have led her into the boardrooms of many strategic corporations. It is probably in this space where she is expected to impact the business environment most, in addition to her leadership role in local commercial motor vehicle assembly.

Rita received her bachelor’s degree in Education from Moi University in 1991 and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA)in Strategic Management from the University of Nairobi in 2005. Rita has attended numerous   General Motors sponsored leadership programs including the Harvard Business School Leadership Program.

CITATION

  • Motor Industry Leadership
  • Automotive Policy
  • Ethics in Business
  • Corporate Governance
  • Sustainable Business
  • Impactful CSR

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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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