In recognition of his five-year service to the Standard Group, the company held a farewell party in honour of its former CEO Sam Shollei on Friday 6 October.
It was a party to remember as Shollei recounted the good and rough patches of his tenure, in the process providing useful insights into the corporate word. Mr Shollei left the group in September 2017.
Members of the board and staff praised Mr Shollei for steering the group into profit through challenging times. Board Chairman Robin Sewell said Mr Shollei’s leadership enabled the group to weather turbulence and make profits.
“During your time at the helm of the group, you had to deal with many challenges. Revenues dropped when we switched off from analogue TV to digital, but you ensured we sprang back to our feet after the disruption,” said Mr Sewell, who was accompanied by fellow directors Mr Samuel Tiampati and Dr Jim McFie.
Mr Sewell recalled that under Mr Shollei, The Standard Group, which owns The Standard and Nairobian, KTN, KTN News, Radio Maisha, Standard Digital and advertising firm Think Outdoor, expanded its business and profitability.
“Under your tenure new products were introduced, including the country’s only 24-hour news channel (KTN News), currently ranked at No. 2, and The Nairobian newspaper burst onto the scene. On behalf of the group, I say thank you,” added Mr Sewell.
The Acting Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu had nice words for Mr Shollei, noting that apart from ensuring that business stayed afloat, Mr Shollei prioritised the welfare of his juniors, which, for example, translated into salaries being paid by the 25th of every month.
“You allowed those working under you to grow, creating leaders in the process. You focused on ensuring all members of staff were comfortable and salaries were paid on time. Your legacy will remain intact,” said Mr Lyomu, who wished Shollei success in his future endeavours.
Mr Lyomu, however, recalled that Mr Shollei could be “random”, meaning the CEO could, at times, depart from the traditional way of doing things, but to good effect.
Mr Shollei thanked the directors and employees of the group for their co-operation. He said he enjoyed working for the group even when the media industry hit choppy waters during his term.
“The five years at the Standard Group were the most experiential years of my life. We went through very significant challenges in business, but I am happy with the co-operation of everyone. The journey was a success,” he told hundreds of staff who attended his farewell party at the company’s Green Park facility off Mombasa Road.
But the highlight of the speech would be Mr Shollei’s systematic recollections of his experiences with the company’s senior managers.
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Delivered with considerable humour, the recollections got everybody laughing as many appreciated that the CEO is also human.