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 David Gatende giving a speech about his 37years experience in Davis & Shirtliff

Before he goes away on a one-month cruise with his wife to start his retirement, Enterprise caught up with him for business advice. “I have said it’s a timeout to being involved in executive management. I’ve been there, done that. I bought the T shirt ... and took the selfie,” he chuckles.

Before he started his job as a field engineer, Gatende was asked to do an attachment going around different departments. Before long, he was given more responsibilities. He was tasked with looking after the fabrication workshops and became the operations manager. In 1990, there was a change in ownership. Alec Davis, the firm’s current chairman, took full ownership of the company.

Mr Davis then appointed Gatende as the sales manager. This would make the turning point for the firm where they aggressively pursued the growth of the business. At the turn of the millennium, there was another shake up and Gatende rose to General manager.

“The company became more and more complex. We developed a supply function and we then began to open more branches,” says Gatende. “From a business point of view, it has been like riding a tiger, it has been an amazing journey.”

Rise to the top

In 2010, he became the deputy CEO of the company, and in 2016, he took over as the Group CEO, when chairman Alec Davis handed over to him. Now it’s time to hang up his boots. At the end of this month, he will hand over to George Mbugua.

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