Ms. Jane Karuku is the Group Managing Director and CEO at East African Breweries Limited. Ms. Karuku is not new to the EABL business. She joined the company’s Board in 2013, before being appointed Managing Director for Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) in mid-2015.
As KBL Managing Director, she has driven the growth agenda for Kenya’s biggest manufacturer and one of the oldest companies which will be celebrating a centenary next year. She is currently among the most senior women leaders in East Africa, steering East and Central Africa’s largest alcohol beverage business to greater heights with iconic brands such as Tusker, Bell, Serengeti, Senator, Guinness, and Johnnie Walker. She has been instrumental in driving innovations in the business by launching new brands and categories that include Tusker Cider, Tusker Premium Ale, Sikera Cider, and a number of premium scotch whiskeys, gin, rums, and liquors.
Ms. Karuku has also been driving one of Kenya’s biggest investments in recent times by a single company – the Kshs 15 billion Kisumu brewery – to produce the Senator, a low-cost beer made from sorghum. The Senator value chain has spawned a significant multiplier effect in the economy with 30,000 farmers supplying the Nairobi Brewery and nearly 15,000 more from Western Kenya region delivering to KBL Kisumu Brewery. The new brewery is estimated to have created over 100,000 jobs in the Western Kenya. She has been instrumental in ensuring KBL is committed to the UN Sustainability Development Goals SDG) which has seen KBL aligned to 13 SDGs and the company was awarded the Private Sector winner of the 2020 SDGs Kenya Awards in Kenya in 2020. She is passionate about driving diversity and inclusion by ensuring disadvantaged sections of the society are given opportunities to participate in the KBL value chain.
Ms. Karuku is a dynamic business leader, with strong management experience spanning over 25 years in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and non-governmental organizations from Cadbury East Africa to Telkom Kenya to the Alliance for a Green revolution in Africa (AGRA). Her expansive experience straddles strategy development, operational management, marketing as well as organizational change management.
At the helm of the EABL business, Ms. Karuku is leading East Africa’s biggest manufacturing Group with an exceptional collection of brands across beer, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Although the EABL manufacturing operations are concentrated in the three East African core markets of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, its products are sold in more than 10 countries across Africa and beyond.
Ms. Karuku is leading a company whose performance ambition is to be the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer products company in Africa. She is also guiding EABL’s significant contribution to the community and the positive role of alcohol plays in society as part of a balanced lifestyle.
Ms. Karuku has served on several boards including Barclays Bank (now ABSA Kenya) and is currently a Trustee of Precious Sisters, a Not-for-profit organization that empowers bright and underprivileged girls through education scholarships.
Ms. Karuku is currently the Chair of the Vision 2030 Delivery Board. The Board is mandated to deliver a policy-making and advisory role and provide overall leadership, oversight, guidance and policy direction in the implementation of the Kenya Vision 2030 Strategy. it also drives sustenance of the momentum in realizing the goals and aspirations under the Vision as well as setting targets and evaluating results.
At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya, Ms. Karuku was appointed to head the Kenya COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Board to support the government’s efforts in the procurement of medical supplies and equipment for front line health workers as well as alleviate the welfare support to the vulnerable communities and individuals. The Fund has helped raise over Kshs 2.8 billion shillings in cash and in-kind donations directly which has already been distributed and fully utilized. The Fund has also helped coordinate the distribution of an additional Kshs 500m worth of in-kind donations through its secretariat from various charity groups, individuals and corporates across the country.
With her at the helm, the Board has been fulfilling its mandate with utmost transparency and good corporate governance working with professional service firms PwC Kenya, KPMG, Deloitte Kenya and EY Kenya to support operations and providing pro-bono assurance services.
Jane has been recognized and awarded for her contribution to the country’s social and economic development by the President of Kenya. She has been awarded the Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo Award in May 2020 and the Moran of Golden Heart (MGH) award in December 2020.