Kenyatta family taps Sarova's Hersi for Heritage Hotels [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The Kenyatta family has tapped hotelier Mohammed Hersi from Sarova Whitesands to run their upmarket hotel chain Heritage Hotels East Africa.
Mr Hersi was appointed this month and he will now run the seven plush hotels under Heritage Group as chief executive officer.
The hotel chain has been without a substantive CEO over the past four years following the exit of David Stogdale and has been under the watch of President Kenyatta's younger brother, Muhoho.
Mr Hersi confirmed his appointment Friday, adding that he is pursuing an expansion strategy that will see Heritage Hotels open a unit in Nairobi to tap the growing business travel segment as well venture into the East Africa market.
"At the moment we do not have any unit in Nairobi but we are planning to set one up because the city has become a hub for global multinationals seeking to set up regional offices which has now attracted investments by many international hotel chains," said Mr Hersi in telephone interview with the Business Daily.
(READ: Nairobi tops in African hotel investments)
Heritage Hotels owns the Voyager Resort in Mombasa and Tsavo, Interpids camps in Samburu and Maasai Mara as well as the Great Rift Valley lodge in Naivasha.
Mara Explorer Camp and the Kipungani Explorer in Lamu island are also part of the establishment.
Mr Hersi will be based at the Voyager Resort in Mombasa. He joined Sarova Whitesands in the mid 1990s and steered the business through difficult moments, including the 2002 Kikambala bombing and the 1998 US embassy blast in Nairobi.
His appointment comes in a period when firms associated with the Kenyatta family have announced major expansion plans. These include Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), which is Kenya's largest non-listed lender with total assets of Sh100 billion and last year posted a net profit of Sh2.6 billion.
The bank is Kenya's ninth largest with a market size index of 4.08 per cent. The bank, which has a presence in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, has started an expansion plan to enter 10 countries including Malawi, Botswana and Rwanda in the next 10 years.
Others are Brookside Dairy—where Muhoho sits as executive chairman—which is eyeing a 20 per cent stake in Ethiopia's Elemtu Dairy and majority stake in Buzeki, the manufacturers of Molo milk.
The family is also linked to Media Max Company, which owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio and The People newspaper. It also owns thousands of acres of prime land across Kenya.
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