Top 60 Most Transformative CEOs Impacting The Economy

Under Mworia's guidance, Centum has transformed into a company that offers investors access to investment grade opportunities in various sectors including real estate, power, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and education




Dr James Mworia has overseen the rapid growth of Centum Investment Company into a multi-billion-shilling business in nearly thirteen years of transformative leadership, seeing the business expand its geographical reach beyond Kenya’s borders.

Appointed Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD) in December 2008, Dr Mworia has scaled Centum into the largest listed investment company in East Africa, with an asset base of approximately KES 51 billion (USD 468 million), up from KES 6 billion (USD 60 million) at the time when he took over the helm of the organisation.

Under his guidance, Centum has transformed into a company that offers investors access to investment grade opportunities in various sectors including real estate, power, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and education.

Dr Mworia’s tenure has also witnessed the conception, initiation and establishment of several notable enterprises, including Two Rivers, Vipingo Development, Pearl Marina in Uganda, Almasi Beverages, Nabo Capital, and Greenblade Growers, among others.

Centum successfully executed a value creation strategy under Dr Mworia’s leadership, resulting in the sale of its entire stake in Almasi Bottlers in September 2019. During the five-year period prior to Centum’s exit, Almasi Bottlers experienced significant growth in value, with annual case sales increasing from 12.8 million to 15.4 million. Turnover grew at an average annual rate of 5.4 percent, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) tripled, while EBITDA margins more than doubled to 22.8 percent at the time of exit.

Dr Mworia is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) CharterHolder, a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), a Fellow of the Kenyan Institute of Management (KIM) and a Member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).

He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN). He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and an Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellow. Moreover, Dr Mworia is a holder of a Doctorate Degree in Business (Honoris Causa) from Machakos University, Kenya.

 He currently chairs the Boards of Sidian Bank and Laikipia County Development Authority (LCDA), and has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Almasi Beverages.

He is a part of the Choiseul Africa Advisory Board along with 20 other eminent figures from the institutional and private sectors. The board brings together influential decision-makers and senior economic leaders from Africa and Europe

In addition, Dr Mworia is a board member of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. He has previously served on the boards of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and The Central Depository and Settlement Corporation (CDSC). During his time at CDSC, he was involved in the development of the Kenya Capital Markets Corporate Governance Guidelines.

Throughout his career, Dr Mworia has been honoured with a multitude of prestigious awards. Among them are the East Africa Business Leader of the Year 2015, bestowed upon him at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards in Nairobi. He also received the Africa Business Leader of the Year 2014 from the Corporate Council for Africa, presented in Washington DC, US. Notably, he was recognised as the Africa Young Business Leader of the Year 2011 at the Africa Business Leaders Awards in Johannesburg, South Africa. Further, the Institute of Certified Public Secretaries (ICPS) presented him with the Champion of Governance CEO of the Year Award in 2015, adding to his extensive list of accolades.

In October 2016, he was appointed by HE President Uhuru Kenyatta as the first Chancellor of Machakos University. He has, since his appointment, established The Machakos University Chancellor’s Scholarship Fund that offers full scholarships to deserving and needy students who are in the Schools of Mathematics, Engineering and Pure Sciences.

Vipingo Development Limited (VDL), a Centum-owned subsidiary, has committed to upgrading learning facilities within primary schools in Kilifi County. VDL has so far put up new classrooms for several learning institutions, including Makonde, Timboni, Kadzinuni and Mukwajuni Primary schools.

VDL provides full scholarships to bright but needy students in Kilifi County every year. As of today, the scholarship awards amount to a total of 250. The aim is to maintain a scholarship level of at least 200 students annually on a rolling basis. VDL has also established a Vocational Training Centre in Kilifi County to equip the local community with relevant skills.

Dr Mworia is passionate about sustainable development. Two Rivers Mall, a development by Centum, is installed with the region’s largest reverse osmosis water treatment plant with the capacity to treat 2 million litres of water per day. This reduces the daily raw water consumption by 70 percent, and allows for 80 percent of grey water to be recycled and treated to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

Dr Mworia is happily married and together they are blessed with three children.

A true thought and industry leader, Dr Mworia is a mentor to many emerging business leaders and entrepreneurs.


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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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