Two years later, Njambi Waruhiu quietly leaves CIO East Africa, joins iZone Africa

After two and half years, Njambi Waruhui finally left CIO East Africa this month. Her departure – which seems to not have been officially communicated to colleagues – brings to an end a period during which Njambi stepped on more toes than she made friends (or won people over to her side).

Even though some of her (former) colleagues at CIO East Africa insist that she’s decided to change her contract terms and work from home while only reporting to the office once a week on Tuesdays, others are more blunt and forthright admitting that she is no longer at the company.

(TOP: Njambi Waruhiu, the former Business Development at CIO East Africa – left – and a delegate during the 2015 CIO100 Awards & Symposium).

Her professional profile also confirms that she’s no longer at CIO East, stating that since October, Ms Waruhiu is now the “Sales and Marketing Manager at iZone Africa,” a digital marketing and events company.

When she joined CIO East Africa in mid 2015, Njambi was conspicuous and everywhere and always getting into everyone’s way. She had no qualms getting into arguments with colleagues over work-related issues, mostly unreasonably, then going ahead to escalate such issues to the two directors of the company who mostly tended to believe her position.

At some point, she had alienated herself from or antagonised almost all her colleagues. This meant that the only people she could now be close to were the directors.

Having come in as the Business Development Manager, she went ahead to assume other roles along the way, at one time even going ahead (or is it down?) to propose the appointment of a new office cleaner. She’s in no bit bothered that the office already had a resident caretaker who also doubled up as the cleaner, and was earning a salary already.

But in this world, you can’t always have it your way.

In May this year, Laura Chite joined CIO East Africa as the CEO. This meant that Harry Hare, one of the two directors and firm’s founder CEO, delegated some of his previous roles and responsibilities to Ms Chite. And from this time on, it seems Njambi’s fortunes began taking a turn for the worse.

And in a post we published then, we’d predicted (and it’s come to pass with her departure) that it would be tricky having the two ladies – Njambi and Laura – working at the company with one expected to the other while she’d been there for a longer duration.

Here’s what we wrote then:

“Njambi yields a lot of influence at the company, and is arguably the third most powerful individual at CIO East Africa – that is behind Harry Hare and Karanja – according to sources. There are even rumours – from both within and outside the firm – that she seems to have more than a professional relationship with one of the directors, with some adding that this maybe the source of her influence and power.

So here is a case where we already have Njambi Waruhiu using her influence to informally call the shots then you bring in Laura Chite as the new CEO, with the expectation that from now on, Njambi will be reporting to Laura.

We strongly believe – and we have our reasons – that this will prove tricky as Njambi has been at CIO East Africa for much longer and knows her away around the company and expecting her to report to (and possibly take orders) from a new entrant (and a fellow woman) will be a herculean task. There is set to be competing egos at play here and we’re sure the directors will from time to time have to be called in to quell fires between the BDM and the CEO.”


Apart from having to report to Laura, something else that seems to have exposed Njambi and left her with limited options at CIO East Africa was the departure of another marketer, Oscar Amuyunzu, from the company mid this year. Oscar had been at the company since 2012 and developed an impressive client portfolio comprising of both multinationals and SMEs.

Trouble between the two started in 2015 when Oscar noticed that Njambi was approaching and pitching to clients which he was already dealing with. And had been dealing with for years. However, when the issue was taken to the directors for arbitration, they added more fuel to the fire instead of reasonably ending the acrimony.

Do you know what they said? That Oscar should not feel offended by Njambi approaching the same firms he’s dealing with as they can divide the accounts into various segments or services. That a company like Samsung for example – which deals has Mobile, IT and Home appliances divisions – can be handled by more than one person with each concentrating on a particular business unit. This didn’t go down well with Oscar.

Again, with Oscar’s departure, the company’s marketing team has been left weak as it has no personalised relationships with the clients he used to handle. This means that when when sales start failing to be met and revenues begin declining, it’s Njambi – as the head of the marketing team – who is now faced with the tough questions from the CEO and the directors.

This is why we strongly feel that Njambi decided to jump ship to avoid having to respond to persistent questions related to falling sales figures now that Oscar – who was pivotal to the marketing team and generating considerable revenues to the company – is no longer there to share the blame with her.

After leaving CIO East Africa, Oscar moved to Safetrac, a vendor of fleet management solutions, as the regional manager in Mombasa.


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