East African Breweries Limited (EABL), a subsidiary of British alcoholic beverage giant Diageo, has appointed MarK Ocitti to the role of Managing Director of Kenya Breweries limited, effective 1st March 2023.
Ocitti transitions to his new role from Tanzania where he served East African Breweries as Managing Director for its subsidiary, Serengeti Breweries.
His appointment is more of a promotion as Kenya Breweries accounts for 60% of EABL’s total revenues, according to the company’s most recent financial statement with Serengeti and its Ugandan counterpart Uganda Breweries accounting for the remaining 40%.
Ocitti succeeds John Musunga who left KBL last October to take up new assignment within the Diageo Africa business unit as the new Managing Director for Guinness Nigeria.
He assumes his role at a time when the Kenya business unit is struggling to increase volumes as tax driven price increases impacted consumer purchasing patterns, mainly in mainstream and value segments.
In July 2022, Kenya’s excise tax for beer and spirits came into effect following the 2022/23 budget, increasing by 10% and 20%, respectively.
In October 2022, beer and spirits consumers were hit by a further 6.3% excise tax increase in the form of an annual inflationary adjustment.
These increases came on the back of an annual upward excise adjustment in 2021, leading to a compounded annual excise tax increase of 23% for beer and 34% for spirits.
Consequently, beer volumes were down 13% in Kenya, with performance further undermined by a reemergence of illicit alcohol during the period under review
Despite of a tough business environment in Kenya, East African Breweries (EABL) still managed to report Kshs 57.3 billion (US$532 million) in net sales for the half year ending December 31st, 2022, representing a 4% growth compared to the same period last year.
Dr. Obinna Anyalebechi to head Serengeti Breweries
Ocitti’s position in Tanzania will be filled by Dr. Obinna Anyalebechi, a seasoned executive with an expansive experience in commercial, consumer marketing and customer marketing spanning over 16 years.
Dr. Obinna holds a Masters in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Nigeria and has been with Diageo since 2012 when he joined in the role of Marketing Manager (Guinness) at Guinness Nigeria PLC.
He has held other roles in the business including Commercial Director, at Guinness Ghana, and Most recently as Field Sales and Operations Director at Diageo Great Britain.