Twiga Foods CEO resigns from company’s board one month after announcing a half-year sabbatical

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Peter Njonjo, the CEO and co-founder of Twiga, has resigned from the company board, arguing that he can only add “very little value” to the company in the future, seemingly confirming earlier reports that he was forced out as CEO last year.

Njonjo founded Twiga in 2013 and led the company until December 2023, when he abruptly announced that he would take a six-month sabbatical. 

At the time, TechCabal reported that the timing suggested Njonjo was likely being pushed out by Creadev and Juven. Both investors participated in a $35 million funding round that helped cash-strapped Twiga pay its obligations to vendors it owed.

“Currently, the strategic direction and daily operations are now firmly in the hands of Juven and Creadev, and there is very little value I can add from this point on,” Njonjo’s letter to his firm’s board, dated January 4, 2024, said. Njonjo said he had agreed to work through a six-month transition at the board’s request after his initial “resignation” to allow the board to recruit a new CEO. 

By describing his sabbatical as a resignation, Njonjo’s latest letter seems to confirm TechCabal’s earlier reporting that investors and long-time players in Kenya’s technology ecosystem privately speculated that his sabbatical was a cover for his eventual exit.

Peter Njonjo has not replied to TechCabal’s request for comments enquiries at the time of this report.

Njonjo closed a $35 million convertible bond to help Twiga repay vendors it owed two weeks before announcing his 6-month sabbatical in December 2023.

Njonjo told Business Daily, the Kenyan publication that published excerpts of Njonjo’s resignation letter, that he had contributed $1 million in that round led by Juven and Creadev. The additional funds were supposed to be used to pay vendors and suppliers Twiga owes. At least one supplier Twiga is locked in litigation with says they have not been paid or notified of a payment plan (despite Twiga saying it notified around 100 vendors). The company is now in informal talks with Twiga representatives, TechCabal learned.

Njonjo says he will be a supportive shareholder after his exit from the board and is already considering other opportunities that will take up his time. 

Njonjo is not the only Twiga leader who has departed the struggling company. According to his LinkedIn profile, Yebeltal Getachew, a former managing director for the Nigerian office of Coca-Cola who was hired in 2021 as the head of Twiga’s East Africa business, also left the company in December. Getachew was hired when the company prepared to pursue an aggressive expansion strategy.

Juven did not reply to enquiries sent to them by the time of this report. Messages sent to Creadev’s Africa managing director have not been replied to at the time of this filing.

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