Since taking over the driver’s seat at his family’s fuel and bulk cargo transportation business seven years ago, Mohamed Ahmed Abdulle has not taken his foot off the gas pedal.
The second-generation chief executive has strategically steered the firm away from the curse of the second generation that bedevils many Kenyan family businesses.
Dakawou Transport, started by his father Ahmed Abdulle Noor in the mid-80s, has grown from a sole proprietorship into one of the largest liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) transporters in East and Central Africa, contracted by Oil Libya, Kenya, Shell, and Rubis. Dakawou also counts Bamburi Cement as one of its clients.
By 2019, the company, which has 500 employees spread across the region, had reported over Sh1 billion in annual turnover.
"I am very people-centric and love interactions and dealing with people from the most basic to the most complex of nature."
How has he grown the company?
Mohamed says he is strategic, constantly scanning for new opportunities. For instance, when news about plans to construct Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project broke, Mohamed got busy aligning his firm to clinch contracts.
“Some of our biggest ticket projects include construction of the SGR and the Nairobi Expressway, where we handled transport logistics, moving cement from the plant to the site,” he says.
Mohamed describes the logistics business as intensely competitive, requiring a hands-on approach to navigate various challenges simultaneously while staying focused on long-term goals.
In charting a growth path for the company, Mohamed has been keen on gender inclusion. The company has partnered with other firms to train, mentor, and absorb women into the workforce.
Beyond the boardroom, the CEO, who doubles as the secretary-general of the East African Petroleum Association, is a philanthropist, following in his father’s footsteps.
“A key lesson from my dad is that you must hold people’s hands to progress. This has played a pivotal role in shaping my career and values. Now, I strive to pay it forward by guiding and empowering the next generation of leaders,” affirms Mohamed, a Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Nairobi who holds a Master of Business Administration from USIU- Africa.
Known for his affable nature, he says he finds joy in interacting with people, including employees from all generations, understanding diverse mindsets, and harnessing untapped potential.
“I am very people-centric and love interactions and dealing with people from the most basic to the most complex of nature,” he says.