Mr James Gachui, the man who founded Kenya’s richest investment group, Trans-Century, and inspired an explosion of investment groups nationally, died at Nairobi Hospital on Thursday evening.
Mr Gachui was the chairman of the multi-billion Trans-Century Group, a public and private equity firm invested in several major firms from southern to eastern Africa, cutting across the sectors. The most recent and visible was the Rift Valley Railways.
The ailing Mr Gachui has been out of the limelight for sometime with his last high profile appearance being at the announcement of change in management of RVR.
He was described by his partners as a good organiser, who successfully presided over several deals that Trancentury had a finger on.
“His organisational ability was exceptional. To put together 29 people for a common goal is obviously great credit to James, who had a great vision for not only Kenya but the African continent,” said Trans-Century member, Mr Zeph Mbugua, who is also the chairman of East African Cables.
Mr Gachui graduated from University of Surrey, Guilford with First Class Honours in Chemical Engineering.
In his professional career, he held various positions at Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited in Mombasa, rising to senior technologist from an entry-level trainee technologist.
He joined Total Kenya in 1978 and rose to the position of operations manager, a role he held until 1985 when he was moved to Paris, France, to the supply and international trading department of Total International.
In October 1987, he moved to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as regional trading manager with responsibility for supply and trading for West Africa.
In 1991, he returned to Kenya as manager supply and international trading, a position he held for three years. He left Total in 1993 to launch Galana Petroleum, a petroleum trading business he co-founded with a former colleague. He retired from the business in 2000.
He was also chairman of Wananchi Online Ltd and Jimana Ltd. He was also director of Rift Valley Railways (Pty) Ltd, East Africa Cables Ltd, Chase Bank Kenya Ltd, Kewberg Cables and Braids, and Metal Fabricators Zambia Ltd.
His other interests included community development through the Rotary Club. He was assistant governor for Kenya Central, in Rotary International district 9200 and a board member of Helpage Kenya. He also held the position of chairman, Enablis East Africa and was a keen golfer.
“We celebrate the life of Mr Gachui, who during his life impacted the wellbeing of many Kenyans through his dedication and passion for his personal, professional and business life,” Trans-Century said in a release on Friday.
–as appeared in the Daily Nation —