Regional lenders are betting on Kenyan CEOs

Absa Kenya, Stanbic and Ecobank have all banked on Kenyan CEOs as regional lenders seek executives with digital expertise and command of the East Africa banking experience to navigate Africa’s large unbanked populations.

Absa Kenya appointed Mr Abdi Mohamed to take over its East Africa’s largest operation in Kenya after its former boss Jeremy Awori left to head Ecobank. Mr Joshua Oigara who left the helm at KCB Bank was also taken up by Stanbic Bank as its regional head.

Absa Bank sought to stick with a local hand to navigate the Kenyan subsidiary of the South African banking giant when it settled for Abdi Mohamed.

Mr Mohamed has wide regional experience having served nearly three decades within the financial sector and in various executive positions within Absa.

Mr Abdi was the Managing Director of Absa Bank Tanzania, and acting Managing Executive for Retail and Business Banking Africa Regional Operations, Absa, a role that spans across multiple geographies within Africa.

He has previously served as Chief Operating Officer for the Bank in Kenya, including Retail & Business Banking Director in Kenya and Zambia, and as Operations Efficiency Manager, at Barclays Global Retail & Commercial Banking (GRCB), London.

Absa retained the top Kenyan team returning Yusuf Omari, who has been serving as interim MD and CEO, to his role as Chief Finance Officer (CFO) while Moses Muthui, who has been serving as interim CFO goes back to his role as the Bank’s Chief Strategy Officer.

Kenya’s two top banks, KCB and Equity, have also aggressively expanded in East Africa, extending Kenya’s influence in the region.

KCB CEO Paul Russo also served as the Group’s Regional Business Director in charge of KCB Bank Tanzania Ltd, KCB Bank Rwanda Ltd, KCB Bank South Sudan Ltd, KCB Bank Uganda Ltd and KCB Bank Burundi Ltd, showing the integral role of regional experience when it comes to heading some of the biggest Banks in East Africa.

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