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[February 02, 2014]
Kanyotu's kin replaces Vohra as Sarova chair [Business Daily (Kenya)]
(Business Daily (Kenya) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sarova Hotels Limited has named the brother of former spymaster James Kanyotu as the group chairman.
John Ngata Kariuki was tapped last week to steer the hospitality unit following the death of Gurcharan Vohra, 78, in October.
Mr Vohra had served for decades as chair of Sarova, which owns hotels like Pan Afric, Whitesands and Stanley. Mr Kariuki is a former Kirinyaga Central Member of Parliament.
"The Board of Directors of Sarova Hotels Limited has announced the appointment of John Ngata Kariuki as the company's chairman with immediate effect," said a statement from Sarova Hotels.
Mr Kariuki has worked as an executive director in the hotel chain since 1974, when he helped found the hospitality unit. He first partnered with the late Vohra in 1974 when they acquired Ambassadeur Hotel on Moi Avenue.
Sarova currently has eight units including Mara Game Park, Shaba Game Lodge and Lion Hill at Lake Nakuru.
Mr Kanyotu died at 71 on February 13, 2008 and headed the Directorate of State Intelligence, then known as Special Branch, for 27 years. He retired in 1992.
The board shift comes as established hotels like Sarova and Serena face competition from new outlets like Villa Rosa Kempinski and more chains such as Belgium-based Rezidor Hotel Group that are looking to open.
Investors are targeting conference and business travellers as well as leisure tourists who come into the country via Nairobi on their way to other destinations.
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