Jumia has announced Ron Kawamara, who has been with the company for over 5 years, as the CEO for Uganda. This was at a press briefing held today in Kampala. The company also announced their plans for the upcoming Jumia Black Friday.
Since joining Jumia, Ron has served in different roles. First as Country Manager for Jumia Food Uganda to head of Jumia Food East Africa.
"Ron has previously served as the Regional Managing Director of Jumia Food, East Africa, and brings his wealth of experience in the African eCommerce industry," wrote Jumia in a press release.
He also served as the Managing Director for Jumia Uganda. Though the position had limitations. "My role at that time was not focusing on individual performance, it was more about compliance and investor relations," he told me.
But, the new role gives him more power and control over Jumia's activities in Uganda. "The CEO position is more elevated which means that it can make things happen quicker," Ron pointed out. Adding that he now owns "everything from the P&Ls, the failures, the successes and so on."
Massimiliano Spalazzi, a Jumia Co-CEO for e-Commerce as well as Sefik Bagdadioglu, the CMO for Jumia E-commerce were also present.
Both Spalazzi and Ron told me that the creation of the CEO role is an attempt to re-organize the company as well as create leadership that is solid. "It is making sure that we have the leadership on the ground that is empowered to be able to make CEO level decisions on the ground," Ron said.
This change is likely to affect internal processes and reporting more than how the company is perceived on the outside.
Before, while I still worked at the company and until recently, the reporting was carried out independently by each venture. For example, Jumia Food and Jumia Travel would report separately to the central team in Paris or Dubai. With the new arrangement, both ventures would be required to report to Ron who in turn reports to either the regional CEO (if they decide to appoint one) or directly to the Group CEO.
Ron told me that the position of Regional Managing Director for Jumia Food East Africa that he has vacated will be filled. "Yes, we already have people in place for the Jumia food side," he said. Though it is likely to be filled by Shreenal Ruparelia, who is the Managing Director for Jumia Food Kenya.
Both Massimiliano and Ron declined to comment on whether the new organization structure in Uganda will be adopted across other 20+ countries on the continent.
They also didn't go in detail when asked whether this new structure will influence the annual reporting. For example, companies like the MTN Group report for each country separately as well as the group. "We see ourselves as one company across Africa," Ron said. Adding that they are "one P&L to our investors, so we try to report as a group."
Earlier this year, Ham Namakajjo left as Country Director for Jumia E-commerce to head back to Fezah, an artist booking startup, he co-founded. This meant that his position was left vacant and no replacement has been appointed to date.
According to Ron, that might not come any time soon. "I think the best way to say this is that Jumia E-commerce has a senior team, so at the moment, I don't anticipate that that will change," Ron said.
Sefik has been giving support to the Ugandan Jumia E-commerce team support ever since Ham left. According to Ron, with his appointment as CEO, that is likely to change. But, he will will stay on to support the marketing team while Ron will continue to tap into his expertise. "Now we have the CEO for Uganda, he will no longer be supporting [us] but more of giving marketing support," Ron said.
We had initially misspelled Spalazzi's name. Jumia also pointed out that Jumia Mall is called Jumia E-commerce and Sefik's role is CMO for Jumia E-commerce. We have since corrected them.