Meet Titus Naikuni: Former Kenya Airways(KQ) CEO

Titus Naikuni is a mechanical engineer, businessman, and corporate executive. He was born in 1961. He holds a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from UON, a Management Development Programme from Harvard Business School, and an honorary doctorate in science from JKUAT.

Titus started his career at Magadi Soda company in 1979 as a trainee engineer and rose to the position of managing director of that company.

He also served as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications and was a member of the board of Kenya Airways.

He was then appointed the managing director of Kenya Airways(KQ) in 2003 where he rose to the ranks to become the CEO of the company.

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On October 5, 2013, KQ graced the headlines after Naikuni forced a senior manager to publicly remove an Arsenal jersey and later fired him. On the said date, senior KQ officers were gathered at the launch of the annual Lemek Conservancy marathon sponsored by the airline.

During the event, KQ’s then Communication Manager Kepha Moreno Bosire came donning an Arsenal jersey with the branding “Fly Emirates”. His choice of dressing did not augur well with his boss, Titus Naikuni, who reportedly ordered him to remove his shirt, arguing that it was inappropriate for him to wear an outfit with a rival company’s branding at an event where KQ was the main sponsor.

Disgruntled by the decision, Bosire moved to court where he sued the airline Mr. Naikuni for wrongful dismissal and undignified treatment.

In their defense, KQ and Titus Naikuni argued that as the Communications Manager, Bosire was the face of the company, therefore it was wrong for him to dress in a rival company’s branding. In June 2019, the court delivered a ruling ordering KQ to pay Bosire 3 months’ salary in lieu of notice which amounted to Ksh.1.8 million.

The airline was also ordered to pay Bosire Ksh.7.2 million as compensation. On his part, Naikuni was ordered to pay Ksh.1 million as compensation for the undignified treatment of Bosire.

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