Alex Magu is the General Manager, Finance, Trade, and Treasury at National Oil Corporation of Kenya.
With over 20 years of experience in Financial and Treasury management, Mr Magu has held various senior positions in the financial sector including Chief Transformation Officer at Family Bank, Founder – Credit Sawa Limited, and the Head of Finance at Kenya Orient Insurance Limited.
The 45-year-old shared his career-path with Sunday Nation.
“I am the eldest of three children and I took after my dad who was a Chief Accountant for over 20 years until his retirement. My mum was a Theatre Nurse. We were raised in a peri-rural setting though I went to a day school in Nairobi, a 30 minutes’ drive from where we lived.
I attended Visa Oshwal Primary and later I joined Strathmore School Secondary before proceeding to Strathmore College for my CPA (K). I later went to United States International University (USIU) for my undergraduate in Finance and University of Nairobi where a pursued a Masters in Strategy and an Advanced Management Program at IESE Business School Barcelona.
I started off my career as an analyst at a stockbrokerage firm back in 1996. I was making KShs12,000 as a stipend while doing my CPA (K). After graduation, I went to Uganda for fun and work as an Audit Manager. At the age of 26, I became the Chief Accountant of a Microdeposit. In 2010 I returned to Kenya as Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of a local Insurance firm, tried my hand in enterprise but did not succeed, and eventually switched sectors to where I am today.
Throughout my career journey what I remember most is the gratification of turning around struggling businesses in different sectors. My career progression has been a journey of highs and lows. I still have more productive years ahead but largely I have been fortunate and I thank God.
Hard work and dedication are fundamental to professional growth. Success and failures are part of any profession.
In my 20 years’ career experience I have learnt to always listen before acting. People who influenced my career trajectory are my mentor in University, my spiritual guide, and my wife. They helped keep me real and sane.
The key decision I ever made in my career journey was trying a shot in enterprise. I founded CreditSawa, the first virtual credit marketplace that enabled loan auctioning and peer-to-peer lending. It was a Digital Market Place for Financial Services and lenders viewed it as an inexpensive tool to access market segments that they couldn’t reach.
The enterprise however closed down due to the Interest Rate Capping law that was passed and effected in September 2018. From this, I learnt useful lessons on what is needed to run a business beyond Financial Management.
Message to my younger self would be…its okay to cry in public sometimes.