James Mworia – From intern to highest paid CEO

How many times do you hear stories of interns rising to become best paid CEOs? It doesn’t happen often. The story of James Mworia is of inspiration and worth sharing.  It is a story of how our dreams can come true if we work hard.

James Mworia is a relaxed and easy to approach person unlike other CEOs. Centum investment Company Limited is one of the largest investment company and has been listed in the Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges.

When he joined the company in 2001, at the age of 23 as an intern, his greatest ambition was to one day become CEO. His job was mostly to file documents. Who knew that seven years later he would become the CEO of the same company he filed documents for? The company has investments in a variety of sectors including energy, real estate, financial services and fast moving consumer goods.

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His desire to become better led him to taking up an internship position at Centum despite being overqualified. At that time Mworia had a law degree, was a Certified Public Accountant and was also working towards a Chartered Institute of Management Accountant qualification.

He says that even though he was qualified, the humility and hunger to learn is what made him become an intern. He says that being stuck in a comfort zone is what hinders people from achieving more.

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Mworias’ desire led him to studying the requirements of the job and coming up with a strategy of what he needed to succeed in the position if an opportunity presented itself. He was appointed the investment manger of Centum but quit after two years because according to him the company was too conservative for his liking. He left the company and joined TransCentury and infrastructure- focused investment company.

Eighteen months later, he was called back to Centum and when asked how he would improve the company, he presented a strategic plan of where he wanted to see Centum in 40 years.

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The management saw a young ambitious man. who they appointed as CEO to see how he would execute his plan for Centum. He has moved Centum from a value of Sh6billion in assets, to about Sh30 billion and is currently managing over Sh140 billion third party funds.

Mworia says he has never been afraid to dream big. He advises that if you only set small goals, that’s all you achieve.  Today he is the fourth largest individual shareholder in Centum with 0.61% of the multi-billion shilling empire.








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