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GM makes a great leaps forward under Rita’s watch

In her late 40s, Rita Kavashe holds a position few women in Kenya do, the general manager of General Motors East Africa (GMEA). Appointed back in 2011, she is at the helm of one the largest motor franchises in the region.

She has managed to see GMEA, the seller of the popular Isuzu trucks, through even as the competition heats up. Rita’s is a tale of humble beginning.

After graduating from Moi University with a bachelor’s degree in Education, Ms Kavashe (below) turned down a job with the Teachers’ Service Commission.

She joined General Motors as a sales representative. However, 17 years later, she has climbed the ranks to oversee the growth of the motor dealer after the resignation of long-serving general manager Bill Lay.

In October, she oversaw the opening of their the upgraded assembly plant. The Sh100 million revamp of the bus assembly plant is expected to strengthen GMEA’s lead in the commercial vehicle market. The plant is designed to build bus bodies and will also serve as a training ground for local body builders. The firm also unveiled a new Isuzu Cruiser bus targeting hotels, tour operators, schools and public service vehicle operators.

The upgrade of the plant is expected to improve efficiency and bring down production costs.

The upgrade will see the company double daily production capacity from five vehicles to 10, depending on the model.

She cites her Dad as her role model as her mum passed away when she was only four.  She says through the Nobel Peace prize winner Wangari Maathai, she has learnt courage, leadership and humility.

GMEA commands more than 26 per cent of the domestic market.