29 August 2012

Kenya: KENIC Gets New Boss, Ending Uncertainty

The Kenya Network Information Center (KENIC) has now identified its new Chief Executive Officer following tumultuous weeks saw a board reshuffle and employee layoffs at the organisation.

KENIC's change manager and acting CEO Sammy Buruchara said the new candidate is currently undergoing training and consulting and will be officially unveiled by mid- September.

The organization has experienced a high turnover at its helm, having four CEOs over the last five years.

KENIC that is charged with administering Kenya's Internet domain .ke, held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday to discuss a major restructuring at the organization that has recently grabbed headlines.

Buruchara, who is on a three-month contract to implement the changes, said the organisation saw the need to revamp its strategic plan after a 65 percent drop in its net profit for 2011 to Sh1.5 million.

This was informed by an Sh8 million increase in administrative expenses to Sh29 million last year.

"We offered the old staff to take positions in the new structure and they said 'no' and wanted a package, but of course what came out was I fired them. The new structure has more responsibility and we benchmarked their remuneration on market rates. Nearly three quarters of the board has changed," he said.

Information Permanent Secretary Bitange Ndemo who addressed the AGM supported the changes but urged the organisation to develop more transparent employee policies and include more stakeholders to avoid operating like a private club.

"We are not fighting with KENIC. We just want to see policy documents that will show more transparency so when someone is sacked we know," he said.

The KENIC board has members from the Ministry of Information and Communication, Telecommunications Service Providers Association of Kenya, Communications Commission of Kenya, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Education Network, Consumers Federation of Kenya and Domain-Name Registrar Association of Kenya.

Buruchara said the organisation is already taking steps to improve its internal dealings, with the help of a consultancy group.

"The consultant has a developed a new HR policy, finance and procurement policy, risk management policy. Those things are in place and we have opened up the organization to represent as many groups as we can," he said.

At the moment, KENIC is spending 55 percent of its gross income on human resources, which Buruchara said he hopes the organization can bring down to 30 percent in the next one year.

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