Wednesday, August 5

Airkenya CFO, John Kimondo: Driven to Succeed

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airkenya-cfo-john-kimondoWhat was your first job? My first job was with a small clearing and forwarding company in Mombasa. This was before I did my CPA and after my degree in Business Administration.

Who had the greatest influence on you during your childhood? My older sister, she is only five years older than me, she was my hero, she has always been there for me. We are seven children; I am the third born and first-born son. She was naturally always ahead of me – when I was in primary, she was in secondary, when I was in high school she was in university. She was my first port of call for money, she never refused and I never went broke.

How did you come to work with Airkenya? I was head of Treasury for the Kenol Kobil Group, when my boss, the Finance Director asked me if I would be interested in the CFO vacancy at Airkenya. I was given first right of refusal. No regrets.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? An engineer but along the way I changed and wanted to be a businessman, a computer expert and back to businessman. I am practising what I studied in school.

What is your earliest memory of Airkenya? A friend of mine was flying to Mombasa – the fare was Ksh 3,000: it was the cheapest fare on the market – and I dropped him at the Airkenya Passenger Terminal. And even earlier the advert “For an airline our size our reputation is rather big” which still rings true.

What do you enjoy reading? I am a reading addict: for relaxation I enjoy reading thrillers and autobiographies. I am currently reading two books, one for traffic, Robert Ludlums “The Matrasses Circle”, and Wangari Mathai’s autobiography “Unbowed– One woman’s story”.

What music do you enjoy listening to? I am one of those people who enjoy classics of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I appreciate music

How did you meet your wife? I saw her in the MBA class. She had a ring on her finger, I thought she was taken. I plucked up the courage to talk to her and found out later she was wearing a rosary ring. She had the best legs in that MBA class.

Do you have children? One son, Kiruhi.

If you could be or do anything else – what would it be? I would be a contractor because I am good at conceptualizing ideas and like to execute them.

If you could have dinner with five famous people, who would they be? Henry Ford – he revolutionised capitalism: He single handedly raised a market for vehicles; he gave each of his employees a pay raise so they could afford a vehicle. Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian busines magnate, billionaire and the richest man in Africa and the Chairman of Emirates Airline, Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the other two Thomas Hobbes and Franco Modigliani.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Driven.

What one word would your friends use to describe you? Social.

If you could change one thing in your past, what might that be? Nothing. I have worked and overcome the challenges and moved on.

What are you most proud of? My son.

What’s the one thing about you few people know? That I am very softhearted. I couldn’t do HR!

What do you dislike most in others? Laziness.

Do you talk about religion or politics? I talk politics and business, I avoid religion.

What has been the happiest day of your life? I don’t have the happiest day of my life, but my son has brought me the most joy in my life.

What would your advice be  to anyone wanting to work in Finance? You must enjoy challenges, qualifying for Finance is hard and the work itself is tough, you are always solving one puzzle after another.


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