Chris Kirubi was a Kenyan businessman, entrepreneur, and industrialist who was the largest individual stakeholder in Centum Investment Company, a corporate conglomerate. He was also active in a variety of industries, including journalism, real estate, manufacturing, banking, and energy. According to Forbes magazine, he was one of Kenya's wealthiest and most important persons in 2011, with a net worth of $301 million. He passed away on June 14, 2021, after a long fight with cancer.
Childhood and Education:
Chris Kirubi was born on August 20, 1941, in Murang'a County, Kenya. He came from an impoverished household and lost both of his parents when he was young. He began working while still in school to support himself and his siblings. He graduated from Friends School Kamusinga and went on to study accounting at INSEAD in France. He also attended Handel's University in Sweden and Harvard Business School in the United States.
Kirubi began his work in the 1960s and early 1970s as an administrator at Kenatco, a government-owned transportation corporation. He then got into real estate, purchasing dilapidated properties in Nairobi and Mombasa, refurbishing them, and then selling or renting them out. He also bought valuable land in and around Nairobi and built business properties on it. He financed his investments with loans from Kenyan financial institutions.
Kirubi's possessions included, but were not limited to:
- Kirubi was the company's largest single investor, and its stock is traded on the Nairobi Stock Exchange as well as the Uganda Securities Exchange. The corporation has holdings in a variety of industries, including banking, insurance, real estate, education, energy, agriculture, and health.
Centum Investment Company:
- Kirubi held 100 percent of this Kenyan household goods firm, which makes detergents, cosmetics, stationery, and beverages.
Haco Industries Limited:
- Kirubi owned 100% of this radio station, which is one of Kenya's leading media sources. He also hosted a popular show called Ask Kirubi, in which he delivered business and personal development advice.
- Kirubi was a shareholder in this bank group, which is one of East Africa's largest financial institutions.
Kenya Commercial Bank Group:
- Kirubi has a stake in this media conglomerate, which is the largest independent media outlet in East and Central Africa.
Nation Media Group:
- Kirubi has a stake in this company, which is Kenya's largest Coca-Cola franchise bottler.
Nairobi Bottlers Limited:
- Kirubi was a non-executive director of this insurance company.
UAP Provincial Insurance Company Limited:
- Kirubi was a non-executive director of this pharmaceutical company.
Bayer East Africa Limited:
Awards and Recognitions:
Kirubi received numerous awards and recognitions for his achievements and contributions to business and society. Some of them include:
- Marconi International Fellow (2002)
- Elder of the Burning Spear (2005)
- Honorary Consul for the Republic of Mauritius in Kenya (2008)
- Doctor of Humane Letters from United States International University-Africa (2014)
- Doctor of Business Administration from Machakos University (2017)
"Business is always a struggle. There are always obstacles and competitors. There is never an open road, except the wide road that leads to failure. Every great success has always been achieved by fight. Every winner has scars.The men who succeed are the efficient few." ~ Chris Kirubi
"If you have quality medicine, have doctor but without God, all is nothing."~ Chris Kirubi
"If you are lucky, God will bless you with a good woman. If unlucky you will find yourself in jail." ~ Chris Kirubi
"Success requires hard work, patience, resilience, talent, teamwork and yes, hard work again. Any “opportunity” promising to circumvent any of the latter is most likely a scam. Overnight success is a misconception and planning your life around it is plain senseless."~ Chris Kirubi
"You are a byproduct of your thoughts. Think rich and you become rich, think poverty you eventually remain in poverty.""If something is not working out then we must look for another method or worst-case scenario, change course and venture into something else."~ Chris Kirubi
"You are yearning for change, but you are not willing to effect the change. Nothing’s going to change unless you do. Begin by being the change."~ Chris Kirubi
"Don’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Master one and remain relevant in it."~ Chris Kirubi
"Everyone has the freedom to become what they want to become. It’s up to you to build your confidence and work hard to get where you want to be."~ Chris Kirubi
Kirubi was married, but divorced in 1999. He was the father of two children, Mary Anne Wambui and Robert Kirubi. He lived in Nairobi and was well-known for his extravagant lifestyle and collection of exotic automobiles. He was also a philanthropist who contributed to a variety of causes, including education, health care, and business. He died on June 14, 2021, at the age of 79, at home, following a protracted fight with cancer.
Chris Kirubi was a self-made billionaire who came from poor origins to become one of Kenya's and Africa's most successful and influential businesspeople. He constructed a diverse enterprise that covered multiple industries and provided thousands of jobs and opportunity for Kenyans. He was also a visionary and a leader who, through his media platform and humanitarian endeavors, inspired and empowered countless people. He was a business role model and a legend who left a lasting impact.
"You must live for something. Let your purpose and vision be your motivation for achieving success."~ Chris Kirubi
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