KENYA – Twiga Foods’ founder and longstanding CEO, Peter Njonjo, has resigned from the firm’s board, marking a significant departure following his recent exit as Chief Executive Officer after a decade at the helm of the agritech company.
Njonjo’s departure has shifted full control of the company, which has evolved into a prominent household items wholesaler and a significant food distributor for Nairobi and its environs, to foreign shareholders.
The move transpires amidst Twiga’s emergence from a series of operational challenges, including staff layoffs, deferred supplier payments, and salary delays, leading to a 40 percent reduction in headcount last year.
Initially reported as a six-month sabbatical, Njonjo’s recent resignation shocked the board. In his terse letter to Twiga Holdings board chairman Hein Pretorius, Njonjo cited limited value he could contribute during the ongoing transition, raising potential concerns within the company.
When asked about his decision, Njonjo emphasized his transition from CEO to a supportive shareholder role, expressing confidence in the board and management team.
Dismissing rumors of a boardroom coup, he highlighted his continued interest in the company’s success despite stepping down from the board.
“At the request of the board after my resignation, I agreed to stay on the Twiga Board and work through a six-month transition that allowed for the recruitment of a new CEO,” Mr Njonjo says in the resignation letter dated January 4, 2024.
“Currently, the strategic direction and daily operations are now firmly in the hands of Juven and Creadev and there is little value I can add from this point on.”
Amidst these changes, Twiga Foods confirmed the appointment of Laurent Gouault and Zuber Momoniat to lead operational and commercial, and finance and legal functions, respectively, after Njonjo’s resignation as CEO.
Reflecting on his tenure, Njonjo acknowledged both successes and challenges during Twiga’s journey toward enhancing food security.
He explained the impact of global macro developments on the company’s expansion plans and emphasized the strategy revamp undertaken in collaboration with key shareholders and consultants.
Njonjo’s strategy contributed to the recent funding round in November 2023, showcasing his commitment by becoming the third-largest investor.
He remains dedicated to Twiga’s success, having invested $1 million in August 2023, with plans for a similar investment pending specific company achievements.
Meanwhile, Twiga Foods reaffirmed its commitment to the Kenyan market, dispelling concerns about downsizing operations.
The company aims to optimize efficiency by outsourcing logistics services, leveraging a recently commissioned million-dollar distribution center at Tatu City to expand its capacity and product reach across Kenya and Uganda.
Despite ongoing transformations and challenges, Twiga plans to attain profitability by 2024, leveraging its platform that connects farmers, FMCG manufacturers, and retailers, fostering a robust supply chain ecosystem.
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