Officially to step down on April 30 of the year, Bill Lay, hitherto the MD of Nairobi’s auto dealer CMC Motors has left the position, in the interim, leaving the position to Mary Ngige to serve as the acting Managing Director.
Lay has been at the executive helm of the auto maker in the last one and a half years, making his exit from the firm premature, although the company has been suffering internal dysfunction from within, starting June 2011 when Lay announced how the chairman, at the time, Peter Muthoka, had gone on to defraud the firm of millions of Kenya shillings.
“CMC Holdings and William Lay have agreed by mutual consent that Lay retires from his position as the group Managing Director with effect from April 30 2013,” revealed the current chairman at CMC, Joel Kibe.
The CMC Context
Cooper Motor Corporation is a major player in auto assembly in Kenya and the East African market. The firm has eight subsidiaries in which it has total trustee possession of, including the Uganda and Tanzania interests, alongside one franchise arrangement with a local auto maker.
The company also owns CMC Aviation Ltd, alongside the CMC Aircarters subsidiary.
The motor firm enjoys a lucrative position as the exclusive distributor of major 4×4 brands including Land Rover. Other brands include Ford, Jaguar, Suzuki and Volkswagen.
The company has managed to penetrate the one vehicle niche in Kenya with most commercial appeal, that of passenger vehicle distribution, through brands like Iveco, which enjoys a large user base in the transportation sector especially in the urban centers.
CMC is also a partner in the inaugural auto maker in Kenya, the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers Limited (KVM) located in Thika, which produces Japanese brands through order arrangements with clients. The company has a 33 percent stake in KVM.
In terms of distribution, CMC has no rival in the East African Community market in terms of spares, service and sale particulars. It reaches a wide distribution par through its nine operational outlets in the country besides its other depot in Uganda.
Though the firm lost approximately Ksh1.5b, according to the report that precipitated the leave from office of major directors, six years prior to yesterday’s exit of Lay, it has still remained a persuasive influence in the motor industry. The company suffered suspension from the trading floor of the Nairobi bourse as it was crossing the financial bridge over troubled waters.