The Rising Star of The Kenyan Corporate Woman.
It has been argued before that the rise of a woman to the top of the corporate ladder in the African continent is big news given that the progress of women up the ladder in the board rooms is slow. In the Kenyan context, things seem to be changing fast.
In as much as it may be said that the corporate space is highly dominated by men, in the recent past, more and more women are rising fast and taking over the space, especially in big businesses. This is evidenced by increasing appointments of women to senior managerial positions.
In the most recent appointment, Anne Muraya is the CEO elect of the Audit and Consulting firm Deloitte East Africa. Muraya who is expected to take over the role from June 1, 2022, will be the first woman to assume the position of CEO in the firm.
She will be tasked with overseeing the firm’s operations across eight countries in the region. These countries include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. Being entrusted with such big responsibilities will see Muraya continue to excel in her roles in the firm alongside other senior female executives who serve in various capacities within the firm across the continent.
Anne has been with the consulting group since 1994 when she joined as an auditor a short while after she graduated from Kenyatta University where she earned her Bachelor of Education degree from. She rose through various ranks within the firm over time up to her eventual CEO appointment.
Within the same period, WPP Scangroup appointed Patricia Ithau as its CEO/Executive Director effective March 14, 2022. Ithau’s appointment follows the resignation of Bharat Thakrar as CEO together with his CFO last year in March 2021.
Besides Ithau sitting on several boards, she is also the current Regional Director at the Stanford Institute for Innovations in Development Economies, Seed. She has been instrumental in philanthropic work in supporting enterprise development in Kenya for a while now.
Patricia has a master’s degree in strategic management from the USIU (United States International University) and a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Nairobi. She has vast corporate experience having served in very senior positions in different companies in Kenya.
Kenya continues to be ahead of its peers in the continent with the highest percentage of women board members. Globally as well, Kenya ranks among the best countries with a good female representation at the boardroom tables of various organizations.
Most recently, the Board Diversity and Inclusion report noted that Kenya’s women’s board representation stood at 36 percent as of 2021 which is way above the global average of 23 percent. This continues to be cemented with more appointments of women to board member positions as well as executive positions across various organizations.
In 2020, the Macquarie Business school research noted that women make far better leaders and tend to perform better than men in top positions. It was thus noted that women-led organizations outperformed men-led organizations as a result.
Not only that, firms with higher numbers of female board members were observed to have a stronger corporate culture, especially with intangible assets such as employees. It was noted that women leaders nurture their employees more, bring in flexibility, and create better rewards.
We can agree that technology has improved organizational efficiency and effectiveness in the case of systems. The only rising need for the modern corporate leader has sharply inclined towards developing the P -people, which is human capital, to maximize growth and profit. And as it now seems, women are excellent at developing and nurturing human capital.
Could it be the reason we are seeing a rising need to have more women at the top? Does it mean that more organizations have realized that women are great in bringing to the table a unique and excellent demographic set of skills that are highly needed by the 21st-century company?
Whatever the case. The Kenyan woman’s star is rising in the corporate space. This should serve as a good example of what is possible for our women and girls. Keep rising our female cream.