Kenneth Mbae: Intern who rose to manage Sh24b property portfolio

Kenneth Mbae: Intern who rose to manage Sh24b property portfolio

Kenneth Mbae (in white polo-shirt) Managing Director Centum Real Estate and James Mworia, CEO of Centum Investment (blue polo shirt) during a construction inspection visit of Loft Residences at Two Rivers Development [Courtesy] Few have handled multi-billion transactions before hitting age 35. Mr Kenneth Mbae is among these few.

Mr Mbae was recently announced as the new managing director for Centum RE, a subsidiary of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) listed Centum Investment.

In a span of 12 years, he has risen from an intern tasked with small errands to now managing a Sh24 billion real estate portfolio with plans to list in the next three years.

In an interview with Enterprise, Mr Mbae shares his journey to the top including creation of wealth not only for shareholders but also across the value chain and uplifting local communities.

The start

In 2010, aged 23, he joined Centum fresh from campus as an intern – shuttling across various departments for experience.

“I ended up in the real estate department and automatically fell in love with it … It was about creating things that have never been done before,” Mbae recalls.

Around that time, Centum Investment was finalising the land acquisition of what is now the Two Rivers Mall – a Sh25.2 billion mixed-use landmark where people live, shop, work and play.

“I was the youngest in that real estate team and the lowest ranking, so I was responsible for making sure we fence and plant trees.”

“The first Annual General Meeting (AGM) was done here and I facilitated that. I also helped in doing a lot of the market research on all the firm’s projects across Nairobi. I got to learn a lot about how things are done,” says Mr Mbae of his formative business years.

Burning ambition Did Mr Mbae ever think he’d occupy the corner office? When he joined, he found an equally young management team led by the CEO Mr James Mworia.Mr Mworia, one of the highest paid executives in corporate Kenya taking home Sh43 million in 2021, also joined Centum aged 23 as an intern back in 2001.In seven years, he rose to become CEO and is credited for growing Centum from a Sh6 billion asset firm to over Sh40 billion, managing over Sh140 billion third-party funds.“When I came here, we were young guys who were extremely over ambitious, so I knew I would do something big,” says Mr Mbae.It still is and […]

Stay in the Know!

Sign up for the latest news and information on African Companies and Economy.

By signing up, you agree to receive MoneyInAfrica offers, promotions and other commercial messages. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply