Top 25 Most Influential Chairs Of Board Impacting Business


Patricia Ithau


Patricia is passionate about creating opportunities that improve people’s lives. Her love for identifying enduring consumer and commercial insights to support the development of brands and grow businesses has been actualized in a career spanning 25 years across 3 global companies namely Unilever, Diageo/East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL) and L’Oreal.

In the last 8 years, her focus was on setting up new organization and opening new frontiers as managing director for Uganda Breweries, then in her role as managing director for EABL International.

Ms Ithau strategic and operational ability in the FMCG sector was further amplified in the setting up of L’Oreal East Africa, a subsidiary of the Global multinational, as its inaugural managing director. This was indeed a crowning glory having in a little over 3 years, grown it into a business with a turnover of over $25million, employing over 270 people, manufacturing 40 million units per annum and closing one of the first of its kind acquisitions of a local business, in the Kenya market.

Patricia pivoted her passion for transforming lives to drive scaling and transformation of MSME’s, the largest job creation sector, in all emerging economies. She makes that a reality as the regional director for the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies – SEED, an initiative out of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, that supports transformation and upscaling of MSME’s in the East and Southern Africa region, through year-long programs.

The program which she launched in May 2016, has in the last 5 years supported the sustainability, revenue growth, regional expansion and job creation of over 200 micro, small to mid-size companies, demonstrating real impact through the age-old idiom ‘. teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.

Ms Ithau seats on the boards of ABSA Bank Kenya Plc and chairs the board of Absa Securities, a subsidiary of Absa Bank Kenya PLC. Patricia also seats as a director on the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) board and Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways Plc.

Patricia builds on the positive impact of development funding, as a board member of Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA), the multi donor initiative and largest aid institution for trade organization, with the overall goal of reducing poverty in the East African region through reduction of trading barriers and increasing trade competitiveness of the region.

Patricia brings to life her enduring desire to connect corporate business with social sustainability investment as a Trustee on the Board of the Vodafone Foundation, UK. Alongside Margaret (Maggie) Ireri, Patricia served her marketing profession with distinction, as one of the most able, eminent and transformative leaders, in her role as the chair of the council of the Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK) and on the inaugural board of Brand Kenya (Brand.Ke) and later on the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB).

Ms Ithau has attended the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford for the Advanced Management Program (AMP) in Scenario Planning in 2013 after a General Management Program under Executive Education with INSEAD – CEDEP.

Patricia also attended an AMP jointly offered by the Strathmore Business School Nairobi/IESE Business School Barcelona in 2007.

She holds an MBA in Strategic Management from the United States International University (USIU – A) (2002- 2003) and a University of Nairobi (UoN) B. Com (Hons) degree (1986 – 1989).

Ms Ithau also graduated from the prestigious Catholic church sponsored and then, run, Loreto Convent Msongari, Lavington. She is a trained, certificated and currently accredited executive coach with The Academy of Executive Coaching (AoEC).


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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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