After a long period at the head of one of the largest, privately owned supermarket chains in the entire African Great lakes region, Atul Shah finally gave up his role as the managing director and chief executive officer of the Nakumatt Holdings Limited. This is after the court approved the appointment of Peter Obondo Kahi, who was proposed by Shah, as the administrator of the chain.
Mr Kahi comes in to try and help turn around a company which has been facing major challenges that threatened to see it get acquired or worse, close down. The biggest challenge facing the retailer has been the high debts they owe their suppliers. Being a partner at PKF Kenya (accounting and business advisors) and also having worked as a consultant for Ernest & Young, Kahi has what it takes to change the current distorted image of the large company.
According to Mr Shah, the granting of the court orders that sees Mr Kahi take over administration comes as a welcome relief as it will allow the business to accelerate on-going recovery efforts particularly branch restocking and related efforts that are currently underway.
He is expected to manage the settling of debts, which are estimated at more than Sh 30.5b (about $300 million). He will also be required to help revive the company back to its glory days after the many challenges saw it trim down its branches from 62 to 20. Whether he will be able to stand up to the challenge or not, only the future holds the answer.