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Smart or lucky? How Polycarp Igathe keeps landing plum jobs

By Wangu Kanuri November 23rd, 2022 2 min read

Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe is a man with lucky streak when it comes to landing plum jobs, his political setbacks notwithstanding.

He may have lost his quest for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat just as recent as August, but he is now Tiger Brands’ Chief Growth Officer.

An astute businessman, Mr Igathe has previously held senior positions in both the public and private sector and carries along vast experience in diverse fields.

It all dates back to 1995, when Igathe, fresh from campus with his undergraduate degree in Economics and Sociology, got his first job in Australia as a finance officer at Queensland Health.

He later returned to Kenya where at different times he worked for Coca-Cola, Africa Online and Kenya Breweries Limited. He also held the position of Managing Director at Haco Industries for 10 years prior to joining Vivo Energy Kenya in 2003.

Also read: Polycarp Igathe bags top job

In May 2017, he resigned and plunged into politics. In that year’s election he was elected as Nairobi Deputy Governor alongside Mike Sonko as the Governor. But he resigned just months into office claiming that he had failed to earn the trust of his boss, Mr Sonko.

Shortly after leaving the Deputy Governor’s office, Mr Igathe was appointed the Chief Commercial Officer of Equity Bank Kenya, a position he held between May 2018 and September 2018 when he was promoted to Managing Director.

Then yet again he left the corporate world to contest the Nairobi gubernatorial seat in the August General Election. He surprised friends and foes when against all odds he was nominated Azimio la Umoja candidate for the seat.

Also read: Maxwell Mwamburi now comes clean on dating ‘prominent politician’

With then Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja as his main opponent, Igathe ran a spirited campaign that saw him cleaning toilets, serving revelers in pubs, repairing shoes, catching a matatu, pushing handcarts and reading news on TV.

On social media, his unorthodox campaign style only attracted memes that portrayed him as a jack of all trades.

Despite his unique campaigning style, Igathe eventually lost the election to Sakaja.

But they say you can’t keep a good man down. Igathe couldn’t remain “jobless” for long.

According to a statement by Tiger Brands, Igathe’s appointment takes effect on December 1, 2022.

Also read: Sakaja, Igathe excite KOT with post-election bromance