Motor dealer DT Dobie executive chairman Zarak Khan has retired after serving the firm for nearly 40 years with the company.
The 60-year old, who joined the company as a management trainee in 1981, rose through the ranks to become the firm’s chief executive officer, a position he held for a period of 20-years.
He is credited with growing DT Dobie’s dealership in Kenya, as well as a shift to heavy commercial vehicles.
“After close to four-decades with the company, I believe it is my time to focus on other adventures,” said Mr Khan.
“I have steered the company’s growth and takeovers and I believe I have transformed the company to being a household name in Kenya,” Mr Khan said.
He, however, did not disclose what his next venture would be.
Mr Khan said DT Dobie was yet to name a successor as he expressed doubts on whether the firm will continue with the position of executive chairman.
The position of executive chairman is a rare position in corporate Kenya amid the push from corporate governance experts and institutions like the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) for separation of the CEO and chairman’s roles.
KenolKobil former head Jacob Segman was the last to double as board chair and chief executive among firms listed at the Nairobi bourse.
His exit comes two years after Japanese conglomerate Toyota Tsusho took full control of DT Dobie for Sh5.4 billion. Toyota had earlier in 2012 paid Sh265.4 billion to acquire 97.81 percent stake in French firm CFAO, which fully owns Kenya’s DT Dobie.
The deal spooked car makers Renault and Nissan, who then ended their exclusive franchises with the dealer, fearing that Toyota would give priority to the sale and marketing of their own vehicles.
Mr Khan later described the Nissan franchise loss, which DT Dobie held for 50 years, as his lowest moment.
He reckons the firm weathered the crisis as it soon after took on Germany’s Volkswagen (VW) brand after rival CMC Holdings lost the franchise.