Kenya-based payment firm Cellulant has been running its operations for nearly two decades now.
Over its existence, the company has overcome all odds to become one of the most sought-after companies in payment processing.
Its growth matches its exemplary leadership thanks to its co-founders. Its achievements saw it export its craft to other markets, mostly in Africa.
With its achievements, the firm’s CEO Ken Njoroge has reported that 2021 will be his last time with the company. Njoroge cites the development as a transition, and according to him, 2021 is the best time to do so following years of growing the company.
“After 18 years of running Cellulant, I have decided that 2021 will be my last year as CEO,” says Njoroge in a blogpost published by the firm.
The post goes back to when Cellulant started, and for those who were following technology news and developments in Kenya in early 2000s, they might remember that the company started small, and its first order of business was selling ringtones following the fast adoption of mobile phones.
The following years saw Cellulant pivot and transition to bigger things, and the baby steps saw it become the powerhouse it is today. Ken refers to the growth as ‘a cub developing into a lion.’
“Back in 2003, when we began Cellulant, it was not the Lion it is today. I would liken it to a cub. It was a tiny, harmless idea with weak arms and legs, which looked to my co-founder and I for life. It was the cub that I had been warned to stay away from by people who ‘knew better’ and warned me off entrepreneurship with phrases like “this is not sustainable”, and “please get a degree first”,’ adds Ken.
People who run successful businesses are aware of the sacrifices they have to make to see their craft grow. The sacrifices include taking a lit bit too much time from family. Ken says he wants to fix that; hence, passing his baton to the next person will create some free time for his family.
“I have spent the last 16 years of our marriage focusing 85% of my time and energy on the business. It’s time to balance that equation,” he says.
Ken is leaving Cellulant because of internal squabbles.
“In August 2020, we suffered a major internal crisis that saw my co-founder exit the business. It wasn’t the crisis, but the process that followed, which gifted me the clarity that the next phase needed an ‘enterprise runner’ rather than a ‘venture builder’. As a natural builder, this reflection allowed me to see that I had given the business the best of my abilities in establishing an enduring business, built on strong governance, systems and culture,” elaborates Ken.
By the end of June, Cellulant will be having a new CEO. Njoroge then will spend the last half of the year ‘supporting all teams and the new leader in the transition.’
Ken will also keep his shareholder position, as well as Board Directorship. He insists that being a co-founder, he is still passionate about Cellulant’s vision.