After more than 12 years at the helm as Managing Director of Observer Media Limited, James Tumusiime, 45, on Wednesday left the position to pursue a career in academia and put his health first.
Addressing staff at the Kamwokya-based media house, JT as he is fondly known, said: “When we started, there were 10 shareholders who were also employed by the newspaper. Over the years we have demonstrated that this newspaper is bigger than individuals, as many moved on [two passed away] and that time has come for me”.
JT, whose 10-year struggle with debilitating migraine headaches and inflamed sinuses was well-known among staff, had taken a two-month sick leave for proper treatment, but his doctor recommended he should not continue in the stressful newsroom environment.
Used to giving 100 per cent editorially and in his other roles, JT faced his staff members with the difficult decision on Wednesday. His departure was met with glowing praise from his team, who praised him for taking the paper through some of its toughest storms and for being an inspirational leader who would be missed.
“When our founding MD Kevin [Ogen Aliro] died in November 2005 when The Observer was less than two years old, many told us to our faces the paper would collapse. JT was then just an editor, but we chose him to steer us forward and he has done so amazingly since,” The Observer’s Administrative Director Carolyne Nakazibwe said, as staff gave their outgoing MD sustained applause.
The Observer wishes JT well as he remains a cardinal part of the family he helped raise. In the interim, Finance Director Pius Mutekani Katunzi is Acting MD.