Philip Ivia Makuyu, 35

Head of Finance for West Africa West Cluster

British American Tobacco (BAT)

For over 10 years, Philip has served only one employer—British American Tobacco (BAT), defying the trend where many professionals are changing employers in search of growth.

But every new position he has been given at BAT has looked like joining a new company, because it has meant meeting new people or visiting a new country, or both.

At BAT, which he joined in October 2013 as a management trainee in finance and grown into different roles, he has handled five international assignments, spanning from Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and now Ivory Coast.

“It has been a great experience of learning and being able to lean on people who have been in the market longer than I have and just tapping into their experiences. I have been very lucky to work with very talented and supportive people,” says Philip.

" At the onset, it is not about titles or money but getting the right experiences, then the rest will come."

In his current role as the BAT head of finance for West Africa West cluster, he serves seven markets in the francophone part of West Africa.

Within the finance function, he has been in eight different roles in five countries and says after every one or two years, he has been moving to either a new role or new country.

“In the grand scheme of things, it is still BAT but when I look at it in detail, I have practically been doing a new job and new responsibilities which is just as exciting as moving from one company to another,” he says.

BAT trusted him with West Africa that is grappling with complex challenges such as political instability and foreign currency shortages. When his colleague in the West Africa East cluster left for maternity, he stepped in temporarily.

“That element of stretching and still delivering in a very tough environment has been the biggest career highlight and it has helped me to grow and understand my potential,” says Philip.

He says that one of the things that has helped him to navigate and grow has been the ability to quickly pivot and being able to apply himself in new situations and new working and learning environments.

His advice to those joining the job market: “You should have a deep hunger to learn and a perpetual curiosity. Another thing is to be resilient because sometimes it gets tough but that is when breakthrough is closest.”

“A young person starting out should ask themselves what they know and what they need to know and how they can get to know. At the onset, it is not about titles or money but getting the right experiences, then the rest will come.”

Philip holds a Bachelor of Commerce in banking and finance from Egerton University and is also a certified public accountant. He also holds an advanced diploma in management accounting from the Chartered Institute of Management.

Outside work, he is a member of Rotary club of Karen. He enjoys a lot of adrenaline activities including golf and tennis.

Philip has had the mindset and openness to step into new zones, with his North star being the hunger to go for critical experiences to allow him grow.

Patrick Alushula