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Chief Operating Officer
1 month ago
Rest of Kenya Full Time SAVE

Job Description

Applications are invited from qualified persons for the above vacant position.

Job Details

Who We Are

Komaza is revolutionizing African forestry by unlocking the potential for small farmers to serve booming wood markets. With roots in San Francisco and headquarters in coastal Kenya, we have planted over 2 million trees with more than 6,000 farmers, making us Kenya’s largest commercial tree planter. By leveraging farmers’ contribution of land and labor, Komaza can access effectively limitless land and establish a hectare of trees for far less than big plantations – a powerful disruption to the traditional forestry model. We have been recognized with numerous awards and investments, including Forbes, Ashoka, Mulago Foundation, and Novastar Ventures. Having recently assembled a top group of investors for a significant growth financing round, we are now seeking driven, high-performance leaders to launch this exciting chapter of accelerated growth. 

About Operations

Komaza’s core operations currently spans 7 departments: technical forestry, seedling nursery, farmer relations, tree planting and maintenance, harvesting, wood processing, product marketing & sales, and supporting IT/MIS. This is a complex and demanding vertically-integrated operation requiring robust, flexible, data-driven processes to ensure production milestones are accomplished on time, cost-efficiently, all while growing fast.

About this Role

As COO, you will be at the helm of growing our team from 100 to 400+ staff over the next 3 years. This is a senior management role that requires innovative thinking and positive leadership in a highly-dynamic and demanding fast-growth environment; this is not a technical forestry role. You will be doing hands-on coordination, coaching and problem-solving to lead a quickly-growing team and hit ambitious milestones. We need a true top-performer – someone with exceptional IQ, EQ, positive energy and experience to manage fast-paced, rapidly-changing and complex operations. The COO will report to Komaza’s Founder & CEO and work closely with other senior executives.


  • Lead a socially and environmentally driven business through years of ambitious growth, striving to transform Africa’s lagging forestry sector with a uniquely cost-competitive and high-impact business model.
  • Complete P&L accountability for the business’ core value chain, from seedling nurseries to sawmills and sales.
  • Lead 10X expansion of our operations in coastal Kenya over the next 5 years. Concurrently, build systems to replicate into new geographies & markets – building an expansion team to launch a second site in 2018, third in 2020, thereafter annually – to establish one of Africa’s top-5 forestry assets by 2025.
  • Drive revenue growth by scaling up decentralized harvest operations, establishing value-adding processing facilities, and implementing scalable wood sales of diverse products into regional and export markets.
  • Define company strategy, working closely with our Founder/CEO and others on our collaborative “Silicon Valley culture” senior team. Help build a fun management team committed to the tenets of “JFDI” and “Go Big or Go Home.”
  • Define and influence company culture according to the principles of servant leadership, and continuous improvement in pursuit of excellence and impact.


  • 10+ years of relevant work experience, ideally with successful entrepreneurial experience or 4+ years as a senior leader in a rapidly growing start-up; MBA is preferred.
  • Proven experience leading high-performing teams, especially in dynamic, high-growth environments, tackling a very diverse number of challenges.
  • Insatiable hunger to learn and desire to continuously improve systems, people, operations to build and scale an innovative, high-impact business model.
  • Deep experience in project or operations management preferred.
  • Strong relationship-building skills and experience working closely across organizations from senior executives to field-level staff.
  • Excellent communication skills with the aptitude to distill complex systems and detailed analysis into simple, structured processes with concrete action plans.
  • Comfort with ambiguity and uncertainty, as well as patience and perseverance in the face of serious logistical and environmental hurdles.
  • Low ego attitude with a willingness to shift from high-level critical thinking to stepping in and helping drive implementation on the ground. This isn’t a top-down armchair role. To succeed, you must be very comfortable seeking and learning from “upward feedback” from your team, and combining strong leadership skills with openness, humility, and good humor.
  • Proven success living and working in Africa is preferred.


We need a COO who wants to make a meaningful commitment to leading dramatic scaling of our core operations for a minimum of 3-5+ years. While we will open a Nairobi office to support regional expansion in the near future, this role will be primarily based at our current headquarters in Kilifi, Kenya for the foreseeable future. The role offers competitive salary and benefits, plus equity participation.