Mworia Mutitu Mwirigi Mworia is the CEO of the largest quoted investment firm in East Africa, Centum Investment Company Limited, which has a cross-listing on the Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges, and substantial regional equity investments in blue chip companies like Coca-Cola, UAP Insurance and Kenya Commercial Bank.
This fiercely ambitious CEO combines an alluring collection of passion and abilities; he is a lawyer, Chartered Financial Analyst, Certified Public Accountant and so much more.
Scaling the ranks………….
Mworia accepted to work as an intern in Centum in 2001, his first job was as a filing clerk; a job many regarded as below his qualification and capability.
The young and unassuming Mworia quickly settled in and made the most of the opportunity, while filing, he took time to study each file; that way, he learnt a great deal about the business- a major advantage which would later shoot him to limelight.
“My approach to life is that anything I have today, that is the best I have, and that is the opportunity I take. When I was an intern, the first job I had was in the filing room. I could have looked at that filing job and say it was below my capability; that I am a graduate and I should not be doing filing. But when I went into that room I said, ‘what is the opportunity here.’ And the opportunity for me was to learn about the business. I really took time to study the files. Two months down the road, we were raising capital and the CEO decided to administer a quiz about the company. I scored the highest marks because I had been reading. And that is how I was identified and got a job.”
And with an unremitting devotion to his purpose, the intern gradually rose through the ranks; in 2005 he was appointed Chief Investment Officer at Centum Investments and in 2008, at the young age of 30, he was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Centum.
During the first six years as CEO, Centum increased its asset base from KES: 6 billion (US$69 million) in 2008 to approximately KES: 30 billion (US$350 million). He is also pivotal in pursuing Centum’s regional expansion into new territories like Mauritius and Nigeria.
Apart from beating and surpassing the profit mark in a short term, Centum also leads one of the biggest real estate ventures on the continent. The Two Rivers development is on 100 acres of prime real estate located within the highly sought after diplomatic blue zone in Nairobi, Runda.
Born in 1978, Mworia attended Alliance High School, Strathmore University and The University of Nairobi. He was recognised as the Africa Young Business Leader of the Year 2011 at the All Africa Business Leader Awards.
Although Mworia has always had his young eyes set on the mark, he never misses an opportunity to acknowledge the hands that have devotedly goaded him to action; his mother, being his mentor in chief.
“I think I knew it and I got a lot of encouragement from my mum. One time when I was probably 16 years I remember I was going to see a General Manager of a company. I told her, ‘mum you know I am not sure what I am going to tell him.’ And she told me, ‘what do you mean? You are as good as him. One day, you are going to become a General Manager or a CEO.”
And how true was his mentor’s statement? Kindly be the judge.
In the same way, we must not look so highly on the people we esteem, that we forget our own worth and capabilities. We were all born with purpose and equal opportunities to discover it and make the most of it.
In his interview with How we Made it in Africa, Mworia shares his thoughts and counsel for the young and aspiring………………
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunities in Africa today. I think it is the most favorable time if you look at Africa’s history. Young people in Europe today are facing many challenges and don’t have these opportunities. It is for us to make our mark. It is very easy to make your mark in Africa now if you are focused.”
Mworia lives in Kenya with his wife and son.
Be focused, determined and hopeful. If you keep at it, you would literally astound yourself.
We all have what it takes to make an indelible mark in the world.