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Ex-Kenya Airways boss lands SA job

By Macharia Kamau | December 11th 2019
Former Kenya Airways Kenya Airways CEO and Managing Director Mbuvi Ngunze. He has landed a plum job in South Africa. [File, Standard]

A South African power company has given former Kenya Airways chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze a plum board position.

Mr Ngunze will chair Mettle Solar Investments, which provides energy solutions to its pool of clients across Africa, and will see him steer the firm’s continental growth ambitions.

He left Kenya Airways in 2017 after backlash from labour unions for the poor performance of the airline, which had sunk into heavy losses, largely seen as an impact of poor decisions by previous management.

He has since been appointed as a senior adviser with Catalyst Principal Partners.

In a statement last week, Gridworks, the firm which appointed Ngunze to the board after making an investment in Mettle, said the company plans to grow its presence in Africa where it has projects in just a handful of countries.

“The investment by Gridworks will also see Mettle appoint Mbuvi Ngunze as its new chairman. Ngunze is an experienced African business leader, who is currently a senior adviser to Catalyst Principal Partners and was previously the group managing director and CEO of Kenya Airways,” said the statement.

“Gridworks’ investment, the first since launching in June 2019, will help drive Mettle into new markets across Africa.”

The firm said it had made an equity investment of $7.2 million (Sh720 million) in Mettle. Investment in the solar company is the first for Gridworks, which has backing from UK development finance institution, CDC Group

Mettle currently has 34 projects (28.1MW) in operation in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya and Indian Ocean islands with a further 2.3MW currently under construction.

It works with business clients to fund, develop and operate solar power systems.

“There’s a clear need for a reliable power supply to businesses across Africa, with the continent’s commercial and industrial customers crying out for stable, affordable green energy,” said Ngunze.

“With the new investment announced today by Gridworks, I believe that Mettle can expand into new African markets, meeting the growing needs of businesses, while helping to combat climate change. I look forward to playing my part in that growth.”

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