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Top 20 Best Performing CEOs Of 2018 Named

Twelve months is quite a long period of time especially for Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Managing Directors who are responsible for the day to day running of companies.

In 2018, a lot of things have happened in boardrooms; key decisions have been made and deals sealed. Some CEOs have been sacked for varying reasons, while others have overcome huge challenges to register a successful year. In this article, Business Focus, in no particular order, looks at Uganda’s top outstanding CEOs of 2018 based on their successes during the course of the year.

Patrick Mweheire- Chief Executive, Stanbic Bank

When think about CEOs in Uganda’s corporate scene, Mweheire’s name quickly comes in mind. He assumed Stanbic top job three years ago. He came with great experience, medaled from Wall Street, New York and he hasn’t let his guard down.

Asked what makes him stand out among his peers in an interview recently, Mweheire said it’s his passion to get things not just done but done the right way.

“If you get things done right, you get the job done,” he said.

Some of his achievements this year include the Stanbic Business Incubator that was launched in May. The facility trains entrepreneurs to prepare them to take up opportunities in the Oil and Gas sector. Mweheire has also been the lead in establishing the Stanbic Holding Company that will allow the bank to invest in other areas of the economy away from the banking industry.

Additionally, Mweheire has kept Stanbic not only growing, but also the leading bank in Uganda on almost all key performance parameters. He also takes credit for leading a bank of Stanbic’s magnitude without any big scandal so far during his time.

Silver Mugisha- Executive Director, National Water

Mugisha has been at the helm of National Water and Sewerage Corporation since 2013 and is popularly known as the “turnaround” MD.

His vision is to pump more safe water for Ugandans. As a sign of approval, Parliament, this year approved a US$ 62.48 million loan for national roll out of prepaid meters as well as strengthening water management regulations to improve access to water across the country.

As of June 2018, the national safe water coverage in rural areas was estimated at 70% and out of 57,974 rural villages in Uganda, 38,183 (66%) of the villages had valid water sources.

Mugisha has seen the population using an improved drinking water source in urban areas increase from 71% in June 2017 to 77% in June 2018.

The multi-billion project that was approved is set to further Mugisha’s vision to provide additional regular access to water and sanitation to 390,000 people by 2023. Regardless of its shortcomings, NWSC under Migisha is one of the best performing government institutions. It explains perhaps why he has won several local and international awards.

ALSO READ: Top Business Moments That Shaped Uganda’s Economy In 2018

Josephine Wapakhabulo- CEO, UNOC

Dr. Josephine Wapakabulo is the founding Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC), and the first woman in that position which is a first in the continent’s oil industry.

Her role is to oversee the handling the Government of Uganda’s commercial interests in the petroleum sector and to ensure that the resource is exploited in a sustainable manner. This year, UNOC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) to jointly carry out oil exploration in a new block in the country.

Under the agreement, both companies will collectively work on joint exploration and development of oil blocks in Uganda’s oil belt in the Albertine graben.

Despite the delays in Final Investment Decision (FDI), Wapakhabulo continues to prepare the country for first oil. She has a great future ahead!

Mathias Katamba

Katamba has been the Managing Director of Housing Finance Bank for four years where he was credited for turning around the bank’s financial performance and customer value proposition of the institution. He switched to dfcu bank as Managing Director towards the end of 2018.

He replaces retiring Juma Kisaame. He is on this list because assuming the top office at Uganda’s second largest bank-by assets is an achievement itself.

Katamba joins Dfcu at a time when the bank is deep in controversy of the acquisition of Crane Bank. It will therefore be interesting to see how he delivers the bank through this storm.

Jennifer Musisi- Former Executive Director, KCCA

Musisi announced she was resigning from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in late September after serving in that position since 2011. Throughout her tenure, she has effected changes in the city that have enhanced its security, safety, beauty and colour.

She finished her first term fighting battles with Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago. She then took on vendors, boda-bodas and hawkers on city streets, demarcated green belts along city roads, installed street lights along several junctions with well-placed signposts and brought the KCCA Carnival that added to the urban tourism of the city. She will no doubt be remembered as the first KCCA ED and her contribution to turning around the city.

Doris Akol- Commissioner General, URA

Akol holds one of the most difficult positions in Uganda; trying to raise money for government while meeting her boss’s targets.

This year has been phenomenal for her having collected Shs14.46 trillion, the highest amount the tax body has collected since inception.

She has also been at the center of innovations at URA, building partnerships with Trademark East Africa to establish One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) across the East African region. Mid this year, URA introduced digital scanners in Busia and Malaba which aim at enhancing inspection and cutting short the time goods spend at the border. Akol’s impressive performance saw President Yoweri Museveni renew her contract towards the end of 2018. She will be at the helm of URA for the next four years. For her landmark achievements, Akol also won both continental and global awards in 2018.

In September, Akol was recognized with the African Virtuous Award for African Woman in Leadership at the Women Development Centre, Abuja Nigeria for demonstrating exemplary selfless services and projecting good leadership qualities on the continent and beyond.

Earlier in February, the Public Service Excellence Award in Africa Award by the African Leadership Magazine saw Doris inducted into the CEOs Hall of Fame.


Akol has started 2018/19 Financial Year on a good note, hitting past revenue collection targets for the past few months, an indication that she may hit the Shs16.3 trillion target the tax body is supposed to collect this Financial Year.

Richard Byarugaba- Managing Director, NSSF

Byarugaba is a darling of the media and was recently filmed at an event while doing the Malwedhe Challenge, a dance very popular with the youth. Away from that, NSSF this year announced the highest interest rate of 15% for its members. The company’s performance has further been boosted by Byarugaba’s initiative that introduced voluntary contributions to the fund.

Some years back, NSSF was home to mega scandals, but  Byarugaba has generally kept the Fund free of scandals.

Mark Ocitti- Managing Director, UBL

Ocitti has been at the helm of Uganda Breweries Limited for two years, having replaced Nyimpini Mabunda in 2016. His appointment was highly celebrated given the scarcity of Ugandans at the top of many corporate companies.

In this time, Ocitti has focused on innovations that have seen brands such as Uganda Waragi Pineapple flavor and Captain Morgan come into the market to the delight of many Ugandans.

Wim Vanhelleputte- CEO, MTN Uganda

Innovation has been at the centre of many companies including telecom giant MTN. Wim’s focus has been to prove that being at top is not enough, one has to stay there innovatively. MTN celebrated 20 years in Uganda in style. The company launched affordable phones branded Fero to drive financial inclusion, introduced Africa’s first music streaming app, launched the MOMO Card aimed at easing payments for goods and services and even went a step farther to  open up its Mobile Money Application Programming Interface (API) in order to enable innovation and catalyze digital financial services. Consequently, third parties are now able to access the Mobile Money API.

Gilbert Asi- Managing Director, Vivo Energy

This year, Vivo Energy Group acquired the assets of Engen in nine African markets bringing the group’s presence in Africa from 15 to 24 countries. While this may not have affected the Ugandan market, it definitely shows the group’s strength.

Uganda’s fuel prices have been fluctuating throughout this year. However, Asi found a way to keep winning. Earlier this year, the company opened 7 new Shell service stations in Uganda, bringing the total country network number to 140 service stations to date. Vivo Energy ended the year with the launch of new fuels with additives to give motorists best and extra levels of performance.

Tony Glencross- Managing Director, NMG

This year, the Daily Monitor’s parent company Nation Media Group (NMG) in Kenya made the decision to bring together NTV, The East African newspaper, KFM, DembeFm and the Monitor under one roof. With these changes, Tony Glencross became the overall CEO of NMG Uganda.

Kin Kariisa- CEO, Next Media Services

Kariisa has been CEO of Next Media Services where he has championed the growth of talent and built on innovation to expand the business.

His media empire is fast expanding. This year, he joined radio business, buying off Isaiah Katumwa’s Jazz FM and rebranding it to Next Radio.

Simple and humble, Kariisa is no doubt one of the best CEOs in the country.

Jean Byamugisha- Executive Director, UHOA

She is young and passionate about Uganda’s tourism and she promotes it with every breath and chance she gets.

As the head of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association (UHOA), her role is to lobby and advocate for better services and conducive tax laws for its associated members. So far, she has grown the association to a membership of 430 strong. She has helped to promote collaboration and partnerships with government and donor agencies, helped protect the interests of hotels, enhancing capacities, ensuring a conducive investment climate for members and marketing Uganda’s hotel businesses abroad.

Amos Wekesa, CEO Great Lakes Safaris

Despite having a difficult year with the political unrest that happened this year that affected tourism, Wekesa continues to grow his empire. He added more lodges to his business in the Murchison Park. Needless to say, Wekesa has been at the center of marketing Uganda as a tourism hub to the world.

Wekesa has also won some awards this year, thanks for his excellent leadership and dedication to promoting Uganda’s tourism sector.

Clement Dodoo, Ecobank MD

Dodoo has been the Managing Director at Ecobank Uganda since early 2015. Dodoo helped turnaround the bank that had been posting losses since it joined the Ugandan market in 2008. The bank has now posted profits for two successive years and from the look of things, it seems to be past the dark days. In 2018, Ecobank under the stewardship of Dodoo championed the Ecobank Mobile App that is revolutionizing the banking industry.

The App was voted best in Africa. Once a customer opens an Xpress account on their phones,  it helps them make payments with Ecobank by scanning a QR code, withdraw using e-token from any Ecobank ATM, purchase airtime, pay bills, send and receive money locally and across Africa at lower rates and push and pull from mobile money.

The App also allows customers to attach other bank VISA cards, check account balance, generate a statement, block a card and approve cheques among other things. The App has since attracted over 200,000 users; probably the highest in Uganda’s banking industry.

Additionally, Ecobank marked 10 years of doing business in Uganda.

Paul Bwiso, CEO, USE

Bwiso is the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).  He has been at the help of USE e since March 2015.

He has tried to implement awareness campaigns to give the USE image to the public that it is a platform for saving and supporting the economy through capital mobilization. He takes credit for overseeing Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CiplaQCIL), a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Uganda list on USE through Initial Public Offer (IPO). The company floated a total of 657,179,319 shares on to the USE in the latter part of 2018. This will probably encourage other companies to go public as a way of raising capital.

Keith Kalyegira, CMA CEO

This is perhaps the best year for Kalyegira since he became the CEO at Capital Markets Authority (CMA) in 2013.

When Kalyegira assumed office, he promised to deliver at least two Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) per annum, but it’s only 2018 that he registered his first IPO of Cipla Quality Chemical Industries Limited (CiplaQCIL).

This will probably give him momentum to court for more IPOs in 2019.

Sudhir Ruparelia, Ruparelia Group

Sudhir is the chairman and majority shareholder in the companies of the Ruparelia Group. His investments are mainly in the areas of education, real estate, floriculture, hospitality, capital markets and more. His net worth was estimated around US$900 million as at end of 2016.

While Bank of Uganda closed his bank- Crane Bank, Sudhir has kept growing. He has continued to construct more buildings, with Kingdom mall located at former Shimon School being the latest.

Sudhir together with his companies won various business awards in 2018. He has allowed his son, Rajiv to take charge of some of the businesses and he’s performing incredibly well.

Godfrey Mutabazi, Executive Director, UCC

Uganda Communications Commission celebrated 20 years in 2018, but it has achieved significant milestones under Mutabazi’s tenure.

The telecoms and ICT sector continues to grow under his guidance. UCC has also encouraged innovations in the film business through the annual film festival.

Additionally, radio business is also booming, thanks to UCC’s role.

Gordon Mugyenyi, MD-Middle East Consultants

Mugyenyi, the Managing Director at ‎Middle East Consultants Limited has made a mark in the labour export business in Uganda.

Like the past few years, 2018 wasn’t exceptional; his company continued to grow by securing Ugandans jobs abroad, thus helping fight unemployment and poverty.

His company has also put in place measures aimed at fighting the increasing human trafficking cases in Uganda and the world at large.

Ziria Tabalwa Waako, ED, ERA

Tibalwa has done an incredible job at Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) since replacing Benon Mutambi a few years ago.

Tabalwa is working tirelessly to ensure safe electricity connectivity for all Ugandans by 2040.

“Our target as a country is to connect 303000 Ugandans onto electricity per year through the National Electrification Strategy,” she said recently.

Indeed, under her stewardship, ERA/government is supporting Umeme efforts by connecting more Ugandans to the national grid almost free of charge.

“We have already started undertaking the campaign of free electricity connection. Ugandans are only expected to pay an installation fee of about Shs20, 000 – 40,000 depending on the location and utility provider. We expect the service men to adhere by this price and not to over change or ask for bribes from the customers. The punishment will be severe including revocation of licenses,” she added.

  1. G Somasekhar- Managing Director, Airtel Uganda

Soma, as he likes to be called was instrumental in the Airtel, Warid merger in 2012 that became an industry game changer.

He was then transferred, but returned last year after the former Managing Director Anwar Soussa made a personal decision to leave the company. During Soma’s four-year tenure as Airtel Uganda MD, he managed to swing from rivals MTN the Uganda national football team sponsorship with 1.05 billion Uganda shillings per annum for four years.

Upon his return, the company registered its first profit. Airtel Uganda registered growth of almost 30 per cent to $62.12m, from $44.9m in 2016, buoyed by increased revenue from different units such as mobile money and data which rose to $306.98m from $283.4m in 2016.

Soma was also the lead in signing the agreement with the Buganda Kingdom to sponsor the annual Kabaka’s run.



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Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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