DT Dobie boss to exit after 39 years

Companies

DT Dobie boss to exit after 39 years

DT Dobie executive chairman Zarak Khan at his Nairobi office. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Motor dealer DT Dobie executive chairman Zarak Khan will be leaving the company in March after serving the company for nearly 40 years.

Mr Khan, 60, joined the firm in 1981, initially as a management trainee before rising through the ranks to become CEO — a position in which he served for 20 years until 2017.

He is credited with growing the car dealer’s presence in Kenya’s automobile industry, as well as steering the firm’s shift to heavy commercial vehicles.

“After close to four-decades with the company, I believe it is my time to focus on other adventures,” Mr Zarak said in an exclusive interview with Business Daily.

He, however, did not disclose what his next venture would be.

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His exit comes two years after Japanese conglomerate Toyota Tsusho took full control of DT Dobie for Sh5.4 billion. Toyota had earlier in 2012 paid Sh265.4 billion to acquire 97.81 percent stake in French firm CFAO, which fully owns Kenya’s DT Dobie.

The deal spooked car makers Renault and Nissan, who then ended their exclusive franchises with the dealer, fearing that Toyota would give priority to the sale and marketing of their own vehicles over theirs.

Mr Khan later described the Nissan franchise loss, which DT Dobie held for 50 years, as his lowest moment.

“It was our second baby as a dealership and a brand that we had walked with and was performing exceptionally well. It was part of our DNA…Its exit wiped out 50 percent of our business,” Mr Khan said in a previous interview with The East African.

He reckons the firm weathered the crisis as it soon after took on Germany’s Volkswagen (VW) brand after rival CMC Holdings lost the franchise.

“I have steered the company’s growth and takeovers and I believe I have transformed the company to being a household name in Kenya,” Mr Khan said.

It is the authorised dealer of Mercedes Benz, VW, Hyundai and GMW pick-ups.

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