Managing Director and CEOCompany
Dr. Ben Chumo, was born on 11th July 1956 in Kipkabus, Uasin Gishu County. He is a renowned Human Resource Management practitioner, educator, innovator, and transformative leader has devoted his life in improving the wellbeing of Kenyans by lighting up their homes and jumpstarting industrial growth in all sectors of the Kenyan economy. He is a family man with 4 daughters and 1 son.
Dr. Chumo attended primary education at Ndalat Primary School from 1966 to 1973. He then joined St. Joseph Secondary School in Trans Nzoia County in 1974 and later Kakibei Secondary School in Kericho County from 1975 to 1977. In 1978 to 1979, Dr. Chumo joined Kabianga High School in Kericho for his ‘A’ level studies. In 1980, he was admitted to the University of Nairobi and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984. Dr. Chumo later joined the same University and graduated with a Master of Business Administration in 2006. In 2009, he enrolled for a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Human Resource Management at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, where he graduated in 2013.
In a career spanning 19 years, Dr. Chumo now serves at the helm of the Kenya Power Company Limited, which supplies electricity to over 4 million consumers as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. He has spearheaded the electrification of informal settlements projects, which was funded jointly by the Kenya Power Company Limited and the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Output Based Aid (GPOBA), a project aimed at providing safe, legal and quality power to supply customers in informal settlements such as Kibra, Mathare and Mukuru in Nairobi, Karuga and Wiumiririe informal settlements in Nyahururu, Bondeni, Ronda and Kaptembwa in Nakuru, Kasarani in Elburgon, and Vumilia in Maai Mahiu.
Dr. Chumo has fast tracked the GPOBA electrification project in the last 10 months, with approximately 400,000 beneficiary households in various parts of the country. The project targeted major urban slums in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Nakuru, Nyahururu, Kisii, Kapsabet, Kericho, Machakos, Nyeri, Muranga and other major towns. The project has received positive public attention, both locally and internationally. The electrification project has enhanced connectivity, demystifying access to electricity as a preserve for the well to do. This has enhanced the socio-economic well-being of those at the bottom of the pyramid, giving them back their dignity and offering endless opportunities for families, children, and the youth hence accelerated economic growth at the micro-economic level in line with the government’s development agenda as envisaged in Kenyan Vision 2030 development blueprint.
Dr. Chumo is also spearheading the country’s connectivity strategy aimed at enhancing penetration to 70% by the year 2017 and universal access by 2020. When he took over the office of CEO of Kenya Power Company Limited in July 2013, the customer base stood at 2.2 million, a number obtained since Kenya Power was established in 1922. Within 2 years Kenya Power, under the able leadership of Dr. Chumo has grown it customer base to 4.2 million customers, a growth of 2 million new customers within 2 years. There has been rapid growth of connections, with 443,000 households getting electricity in the year 2013/2014 and 843,000 in the 2014/2015 financial years. This raised the country’s electricity access to over 51% at the end of June 2015. Dr. Chumo and his management team have a connectivity target of one million new connections for the next five years, beginning 2014/2015 financial year. In this financial year 2015/16 which started in July, Kenya Power has connected 436, 667 new customers - this is equivalent to total connections achieved in the whole of 2013-2014 Financial Year.
Having realized the biggest hindrance to connectivity is cost of connection, the Government of Kenya mooted the Last Mile Connectivity Project, which was launched in May 2015. This project, supported by international agencies such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Bank (AFD) and the World Bank will connect Kenyans at a cost of Kshs15,000.
The initial phase of the Last Mile connectivity project will cost Kes.13.5 billion and will connect 314,000 households, translating to 1.5 million Kenyans benefiting from it. Every household within a radius of 600 metres from a transformer will be connected to the grid. The second and third phase will seek to connect the remaining households and bring connectivity of the country to 70%.
In addition, Dr. Chumo initiated the Boresha Umeme project - a rapid results initiative whose approach entails maximizing human and capital resources to upgrade electricity network in industrial parks, high growth areas, major towns and townships. The project initiated in 2014 involves upgrading existing power networks and infrastructure, including power substations, extension of existing power and replacement of wooden poles with concrete poles in all major towns in the country. Dr. Chumo also spearheaded Mwangaza Mtaani street lighting project. Major urban towns such as Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nyeri, Eldoret, Kisii, Narok, Muranga among others have benefitted from this program. For instance, Nairobi City has seen a total of 873 streets within Nairobi County installed or rehabilitated to provide security and promote a 24-hour economy. Old Town in Mombasa is bustling with commercial and leisure activities in the night thanks to the Mwangaza Mitaani project. Recently, Nyeri and its environ was all lit during the beatification of Sister Nyaatha. Kisumu County is the latest town to be lit and night life on the beaches has improved allowing fishing into the night to be possible.
Dr. Chumo has built strategic partnerships with industries like the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Kenya Private Developers Association. He has been invited to the various KEPSA Presidential Roundtable meetings at State House Nairobi hosted by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of Kenya H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta.
At the International level, Dr. Chumo was seconded by Kenya Power Company Limited to undertake consultancy services in war-torn Afghanistan in 2010. He was involved in developing strategies for enhancing revenue collection and streamlining meter reading services for Kabul Electricity Directorate; a partnership between Kenya Power Company Limited and Manitoba – hydro International of Canada.
Dr. Chumo has been an adjunct faculty in Human Resource Management at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and at the University of Nairobi. He also hopes to teach and mentor young people on human resource management when he retires as a way of giving back to the society. His contribution to society has transformed methods of wealth creation and security, and provided new livelihoods in previously disadvantaged areas.
In recognition of his talent as a mover of Human Resources Management and transformative leadership for the benefit of the country, the continent and the world, Laikipia University confers the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business (Honoris Causa) upon Dr. Ben Chumo. Dr. Chumo was also awarded the Order of the Grand Warrior (OGW) of Kenya by the third President of Kenya, H.E. Hon. Mwai Kibaki in 2008.