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Workers panic as Uchumi changes leadership once again

15 June 2015, 16:35 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - There is panic among Uchumi Staff after the retailer fired CEO Jonathan Ciano and other top executives.

The struggling Uchumi sacked Ciano and chief finance officer Chadwick Okumu Monday following massive supply problems, the retail chain said.

Chairperson Khadija Mire said Ciano and Okumu were sacked for gross misconduct and negligence after months of deteriorating business caused by under-stocked outlets.

Speaking during a media briefing on Monday, Mire said human resources manager Michael Kibe has also been suspended.

Mire said a forensic audit into operations and the search for a new CEO and CFO will begin immediately.

" The board would like to reassure all our stakeholders that Uchumi Supermarkets continues to operate as a going concern and that these measures were necessary to ensure that the business is run on sound principles of good corporate governance, irreproachable leadership and high integrity," she said.

Despite her efforts to calm down stakeholders, there was panic among staff that the Supermarket chain would fall to its knees resulting in loss of jobs.

Workers who spoke to News24 stated that they were worried over the fate of their jobs.

" Are our jobs safe?", an employee that spoke on condition of anonymity.

" There has been a lot of talk that we might lose our jobs and there could be a major restructuring to take place, thus the worry," he added.

According to Mire, the company owes its suppliers KES 1 billion and is looking to offload some assets worth KES 2 billion in-order to run as normal.

" We have a plan for the coming weeks and months and are confident that under new leadership things will be back to normal," she added.

Uchumi is Kenya's oldest Supermarket and is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.

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