Joe Wanjui was born on 24th May 1937 in Kiambu County. He attended Kabaa Mission School and cleared from the famous Mang’u High School in Thika with a First Class in Cambridge School Certificate.
He declined the offer to join Makerere University and instead opted for the American Air Lift Scholarship to Ohio Wesleyan University-the same institution his twin daughters later studied.
After completing his Master’s in 1964, he came back to Kenya with Ksh 70,000, his savings while he was studying abroad.
His first acquisition was a house in Caledonia worth Ksh 45,000 along State House Road, two blocks of flats in Eastleigh and his first car which was a Morris Cooper. He was only 28 years old at the time.
Wanjui worked for ExxonMobil before leaving the multi-national company to join the state-owned Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).
In 1968 he left the company and joined East African Industries (EAI) now famously known as Unilever where he worked as a Technical Director. The company is behind popular brands such as Omo, Kimbo, Cowboy, Blue Band and Mama Safi among many others.
He rose through the ranks to become the managing director and later the executive Chairman serving the company for 19 years before retiring in April 1996.
In 2020, when South African owned Old Mutual wanted to buy shares in UAP holdings firm, it was revealed that Wanjui held 43.25 million shares.
Dr. Wanjui was the first African Chairman of the Rotary Club of Nairobi.
He is the author of three popular books – ‘The Native Son, My Native Roots and From Where I Sit with Views of an African Executive.