The Three Kenyans At The Helm Of Africa’s Biggest Bank By Footprint

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The Three Kenyans At The Helm Of Africa's Biggest Bank By Footprint
From left: Incoming Ecobank CEO Jeremy Awori, Eric Jones Odhiambo, and Dr. Catherine Ngahu. |Courtesy|

On Monday, September 5, 2022, Absa Bank Kenya announced the exit of CEO Jeremy Awori who joined the lender back in 2013. Awori is headed to Ecobank Group as it’s new CEO following a successful reign at Absa.

Interestingly, Awori’s entry into the top of the hierarchy at Ecobank which is Africa’s biggest bank by footprint increases the number of Kenyans at the helm of the lender to three.

Ecobank, which has its headquarters in Lome, Togo, operates in 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Here is a profile of the three Kenyans as researched and compiled by WoK.

Jeremy Awori

Awori is a Kenyan businessman and corporate executive who was appointed as the new managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Ecobank Group, ahead of his official exit from Absa Bank in October 2022.

Ecobank named Awori as the new chief following the exit of incumbent CEO Ade Ayeyemi who is attaining the mandatory retirement age of 60 year. Ayeyemi served at the helm of the African lender for seven years.

“Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of Ecobank Group, today announced that the current Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi will retire after he attains the age of 60, in accordance with ETI policy. The board of directors selected Jeremy Awori to succeed Ayeyemi as Group CEO. The relevant dates will be communicated in due course,” the bank said in a statement.

Awori expressed his gratitude following the appointment.

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“It is a great honour to be appointed Ecobank Group’s CEO. I look forward to consolidating the transformation of Ecobank while innovating to create value for all Ecobank’s stakeholders,” he said.

Awori served at the helm of Absa since his appointment in February 2013 and oversaw the bank’s successful transformation from Barclays Bank Kenya. He also served as the chairman of the Kenya Bankers Association for one year between June 2013 and July 2014.

Before joining Absa, the incoming Ecobank CEO served at the hem of Standard Chartered Tanzania between 2008 and 2013. Before then, he was the lender’s sales director for Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Eric Jones Odhiambo

Odhiambo is the Head of Corporate & Investment Banking at Ecobank Group. He boasts in-depth experience and knowledge of the African business environment with particular emphasis on the banking landscape in a career spanning over 33 years.

He began his career at PWC (then PriceWaterhouse) before moving into the banking industry. In his expansive career, he served at ABN AMRO Bank for 8 years and Citibank NA for 15 years.

Odhiambo begun his banking career in the Operations before switching to Risk Management in 1997. He has held various progressive roles across Kenya, East Africa, Sub Saharan Africa and eventually, Pan African roles incorporating all areas of Risk and building broad technical knowledge across Credit, Market, Operational and Regulatory Risk as well as Compliance.

Between 2012 and 2015, Odhiambo held a Chief Risk Officer role in Turkey/CIS (7 countries) and in the UAE between 2015 and 2017 before joining Ecobank ETI in September 2017 as the Group CRO/Head of Risk Management. He also a member on the Board of Ecobank Nigeria as a Non-Executive director.

Eric holds a Bchelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Nairobi (1986).

Dr Catherine Ngahu

Dr. Ngahu is a member of the Ecobank Nomination & Remuneration Committee and the Ethics & Reputation Committee.

She holds PhD in Business Administration, Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Education (First Class Honours) from the University of Nairobi. She was a Business Research Fellow at Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania between 1992 and 1993. She also has several certifications in ICT and corporate governance.

Dr. Ngahu boasts over 25 years of experience in business strategy, marketing, communications, ICT policy, culture change, business research and corporate governance. She is a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi and is the founder and Executive Chairman of SBO Research Ltd. She has consulted for a wide range of organisations in the financial services, FMCG, energy, ICT and manufacturing sectors in Africa.

She has extensive board experience and served as the Chair of Universal Service Advisory Council of Communication Authority of Kenya. She has sat in the Boards of AAR Insurance and Eveready EA Limited. She was awarded the Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS) in 2011 by late former President Mwai Kibaki for devoted service.

Ecobank Group

According to the bank’s website, the lender employs about 13,000 people and serves over 32 million customers from consumer, commercial and corporate & investment banking sectors across 35 African countries.

Ecobank Group operates a banking licence in France and has representative offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; London, the UK and Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The lender offers a full suite of banking products, services and solutions, including bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory, trade, securities, wealth and asset management as well as digital offerings.

It’s parent company Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.

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