KCB Group in executive shake-up, top managers exit

KENYA – Financial services holding KCB Group is restructuring its executive team, marking the second major reorganization of its top leadership since 2011.

The Kenyan lender has let go of four top executives, changed responsibilities for others and created new roles in a move it says will lead to better management.

Those who recently left the lender’s top management are Apollo Ongara who was the director of credit, Judith Sidi Odhiambo (head of corporate and regulatory affairs), Joseph Kania (company secretary) and Jane Mwangi (managing director of KCB Foundation).

Benard Okello has been appointed the director of credit in an acting capacity while Wanyi Mwaura is also temporarily holding the role of director for marketing, corporate affairs and citizenship.

Bonnie Okumu was appointed general counsel for the group, assuming the role of company secretary as well. Leonard Mwithiga has been appointed to the newly created position of director for group shared services.

Samuel Makome’s title has been changed from chief operating officer to chief commercial officer.

“We intend to substantively fill the group credit director and group director marketing, corporate affairs & citizenship within the first half of this year,” KCB’s chief executive Joshua Oigara said in the report.

“Together with the group chief finance officer, the group human resources director, the group chief technology officer and the group chief risk officer, the executive committee is complete.”

He added that the changes are expected to consolidate and grow the bank’s business, align brand communication, leverage social impact synergies, enhance credit management, enhance service experience, and subsidiaries to support and strengthen customer value propositions.

KCB Group’s net profit declined 22 percent to US$183 million in the year ended December on the back of increased provisions for coronavirus-related defaults.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm, which also operates in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, had reported net earnings of US$234 million the year before.

It said its non-performing loans in 2020 rose to US$900 million from US$591 million a year earlier,

KCB Group chairman Andrew Kairu said the shake-up will give the CEO better oversight toward building “a business that is truly fit for purpose.”

“We intend to substantively fill the group credit director and group director marketing, corporate affairs & citizenship within the first half of this year”

Joshua Oigara – CEO, KCB Group

In the senior management shake-up of 2011, KCB scrapped some 15 executive director posts as part of a reorganization that cost US$15 million.

It was the first such programme since the formation of the bank in 1896 and was aimed at boosting productivity, innovation and increasing the lender’s market share.

KCB is among Kenyan companies that are reviewing their operations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has put a premium on cost reduction and innovation.

Britam Holdings recently restructured its executive team as part of a plan to lay off an estimated 138 employees at a cost of US$6.5 million, with the insurer saying its margins have been hurt by a higher cost base relative to peers.

Standard Chartered Bank Kenya retrenched 200 employees at the end of last year at a cost of US$12.1 million, continuing with its strategy of heavy investment in technology to reduce reliance on brick-and-mortar branches.

NCBA Group laid off a significant part of its workforce, including executives, last year but the scale of the retrenchment is yet to be disclosed.

Co-operative Bank last year hired management consulting firm McKinsey to review its group structure besides lending processes with an aim of reducing the risk of defaults.

This is McKinsey’s second assignment at the lender that first hired it in 2014 to cut costs and transform the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm into a digital bank.

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