Home » Episode One : The Celebrity CEO; Everything Hinges On Perception, All are Fools But Him

Episode One : The Celebrity CEO; Everything Hinges On Perception, All are Fools But Him

by Paul Nyongesa
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Something smells Fishy!

The Centum CEO has had more published interviews in the Business Daily in the past 3 months than 21 other CEO’s combined, running bigger listed companies than Centum. It is an overkill!

Centum has perfected the art of pulling wool over everyone’s eyes. From running expensive, shareholder paid PR campaigns, resorting to borrowing and selling businesses to pay dividends and shut down any concerns on the business fundamentals to gas lighting shareholders when the shareholders choose to sell their shares driven by economic, market and business fundamentals. James Mworia has elected to blame the shareholders for the woes of the business he has been running for more than 14 years!

James Mworia is on a PR overdrive to cover his ills. On the 21st June 2022 on page 2 of the Smart Company in the Daily Nation, James Mworia chose to blame small shareholders (constituting 99.9% of his shareholders and owning half of it) for selling their shares in what can only be a condescending attack on their intelligence and lack of resources. He has set out to exclusively blame all and sundry from the banking sector performance (ignoring the fact that banks are making profits hands over fit), time (arguing that if you looked at a shorter time horizon, the business is making money) and his staff (for what he calls disclosing confidential information and thus firing them in droves).

On Monday, the 13th of June 2022, the Business Daily ran two articles on its third page titled “Why We Sold Sidian Bank to Nigerian Lender at a Loss” and “How Centum’s top deal maker makes his pick”. Reading through the two articles brings out the real conflict that is Centum and its management, boasting when selling assets at a loss destroying shareholder value while using the opportunity to position one man as the deal maker in the market not because of a lucrative deal closed but because of a loss-making transaction closed. The said bank, being used as guinea pig to buy more PR for James Mworia. Banking is sensitive and when a shareholder sells a bank claiming it is weak and poorly performing, it raises business risk. The psychological play of what is, on the face of it, a sanctioned for article that reads as a self-aggrandising advertisement is best left to professional psychologists to determine what underlies it.

A review of facts and James Mworia conjures memories and semblance to the likes of Arif Naqvo of Abraaj with his fascination to how the world and media perceive him and Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos for his expertise in telling tales of success where there are none or minimal and trying to win over anyone who pays the slightest attention. Any critic is attacked not for their substance but painted as bitter and an enemy of Centum and James Mworia.

The issues raised in this series are factual, traceable to Centum’s audited financial statements and the significant number of publications available on the firm and its management. Unfortunately, some of the media articles have been taken down both by mainstream media houses and bloggers. The incentive or disincentive of which can only be assumed.

The Centum conversation needs to be held, not under the tables but as a public conversation for it risks wealth of more than 38,000 shareholders. There has been chatter across various groups on the same. The conversation never rests, but most importantly never comes to light or to the public, thanks to a well-oiled public relations machine fired by the best professionals in the trade financed by the Centum shareholder.

The fourth estate must play its role. The regulators need to do their job. The shareholders need to ask tough questions. The board needs to stop seating on its hands and act. And the management needs to be courageous enough and come clean for the mess to be resolved.

Celebrity Investors Should Be Observed, Not Followed!

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