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Susan Nsibirwa: Vision Group marketing boss quits amid rumours of vernacular papers folding

C24 LIFE | The Head-Marketing and Communications at The New Vision Printing and Publishing Company Ltd, Susan Nsibirwa, has quit the Industrial Area-based media empire.

Whereas some sources said Nsibirwa has landed a better paying job than the one she has been holding at Vision Group over the last seven years, others say she has been under pressure due to a plethora of challenges related to marketing and advertising revenues.

Nsibirwa has been managing corporate marketing and communications functions, overseeing over Shs4 billion budget and 30-member team at Vision Group, a multimedia empire encompassing print, electronic and digital media platforms.

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Her responsibilities put her in charge of direct brand management, public relations, internal and external communications, corporate positioning, product and service launches, advertising, event management and sales collateral.

However, the timing of her departure comes on the heel of the winding down and laying off of Urban Television staff, meaning one brand Nsibirwa has been at sthe heart of marketing folded right under her nose.

Nsibirwa, sources say, was adamant Urban TV could still crawl its way back to being a useful source of revenue, but was reportedly frustrated by the decision to cripple the English television station.

To make matters worse, there have been rumours related to the fate of vernacular papers Orumuri (western), Etop (Iteso) and Rupiny (Luo) with some sources telling C24 Life that Vision Group chief executive is losing patience with their failure to generate ad revenue.

There have been plans to keep the vernacular papers digital and limit losses due to print but majority consensus have always been that the target audience have limited access to digital amenities like internet and smartphones.

From around 2011 when Sunday Vision magazine was scrapped, the argument that the vernacular papers, with exception of Bukedde, are not generating loss-making baggage has always put Kabushenga under pressure.

This side of the story also holds that Kampala Sun, a weekly, could also face the wrath of Kabushenga after the paper he started in 2011 failed to live up to the billing and has been moonwalking in terms of appeal yet it has never returned any tangible revenue.

However, a source familiar with the developments around First and Fourth Street has insisted that Vision Group has no intention of folding Orumuri, Etop and Rupiny prints, but that the print company has been hit by acute shortage of newsprint.

“Closing those vernacular papers is the last thing Kabushenga can do. It’s just shortage of print but by January 7, Orumuri, Etop and Rupiny and even Kampala Sun will be back on the newsstands,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Vision Group is already searching for Nsibirwa’s replacement. The former head of marketing at dfcu Bank has not been in the good books of a section of staff, especially in the print department.

Staffers accused her of being vain and inconsiderate to their plight, and they especially turned the screws on her when long-serving front desk assistant Camilla Asiya passed on in August, with many openly blaming Nsibirwa and her team in marketing of frustrating the late.

As emotions took the better of the staffers, they hit social media to bemoan the death of Asiya and openly trashed Nsibirwa and her marketing team. Kabushenga, a social media bug himself, must have taken note of the open revolt and anger at Nsibirwa.

Whether this episode contributed to her departure just four months later remains unclear, but the trained journalist and former marketing guru at Commercial Microfinance Limited, MTN Uganda and Saatchi&Saatchi will now have to take her wealth of media and advertising experience of 20 years to another company.

Meanwhile, Kabushenga is a bag of hot potatoes as frustrations related to Arsenal and running Vision Group appears to be making him want to close his wardrobe and go to the sitting room instead.

After Arsenal’s 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool on Saturday, Kabushenga tweeted: “If anyone tags me in a tweet about the Arsenal FC game today, they will know me properly!!! It is two days to the end of the year and I have run out of tolerance for nonsense in 2018.”

Among the “nonsense” messing up the Vision Group chief executive is the resignation of Ritah Kabatunzi, the company secretary he just recently risked reducing the length of his tongue while convincing to return to First Street.

The former head of legal and compliance and risk left Vision Group a year ago but Kabushenga went to great pain to convince her to return and replace Gervase Ndyanabo, who was stepping up the rungs of the ladder to be deputy managing director and finance director.

But Kabatunzi’s resignation now sees Ndyanabo having to make one helpful step backwards and hold three dockets all by himself.

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