Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Fourth Equity Bank CFO quits lender in 2 years

 Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi (centre) with Mr Samson Oduor (right), former chief financial officer, and Mr Julius Kipng’etich, the COO, at a past event. FILE
Equity Bank CEO James Mwangi (centre) with Mr Samson Oduor (right), former chief financial officer, and Mr Julius Kipng’etich, the COO, at a past event. FILE 

Posted  Sunday, April 28  2013 at  16:09
Equity Bank’s chief financial officer has quit the lender six months into the job, making him the fourth head of finance to be replaced since 2010.
The Business Daily has learnt that Samson Oduor left the bank last month after failing to agree on strategy with the bank’s chief executive, James Mwangi.
He quits office after being tapped from Ecobank Transnational where he served as the chief financial officer last October in the wake of a major shake-up of the bank’s management team.
The shake-up led to the appointment of Julius Kipng’etich from the Kenya Wildlife Service to the newly-created position of chief operating officer in changes meant to realign the bank towards the goal of a pan-African lender.
The exit of Mr Oduor makes the top finance job at Equity Bank the most volatile given the replacements that have happened in the position over the past three years.
“Mr Oduor no longer works with Equity. He had differences with the management,” said a source at the bank who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Efforts to get to Mr Mwangi on phone last Friday were not successful and he did not respond to text messages over the exit of the CFO.
Before Mr Oduor, the finance docket at Equity was handled by Paul Njaga (2012), Edwin Mucai (2011) and Allan Mwangi (2010). Though Equity has consistently recruited top-notch professionals in the past five years, it has not been as successful in retaining them.
Mid last year, three senior executives that Equity had recruited from international institutions in 2011 quit in succession. The three were Mr Njaga, American Maurice Ewing (chief risk officer) and Daniel Odongo (head of corporate risk).
They joined the bank in the third quarter of 2011 from top notch global institutions such as the Bank of America, Standard Chartered and Microsoft. Their hiring was informed by Equity’s quest to deepen its presence in the corporate segment of the banking market.
Mr Oduor has also worked with East African Breweries Limited and Standard Chartered Bank in high ranking positions. Mr Mwangi earlier said the bank had grown and become more complex, making it imperative to have smart people to assist in its management. Mr Mwangi was appointed as chief executive in 2004 when the bank was still a building society.
He has presided over one of corporate Kenya’s most dramatic transformations that saw the building society turn into a full-fledged bank, list on the Nairobi Securities Exchange and break into the league of top lenders within seven years.
These successes have seen Mr Mwangi become the face of the bank with a personality that has sometimes overshadowed the institution, leading to frequent claims that Equity has no room for other stars to shine.
Mr Mwangi is also in the list of Equity’s top shareholders with a 4.88 per cent stake valued at Sh6 billion based on Friday’s share price of Sh32.50. The bank posted a 16.9 per cent rise in net profit to Sh12 billion in the year to December, making it the second most profitable bank in Kenya behind KCB.
Equity Bank is home to more than half of Kenya’s banked population that stands at more than 7.5 million deposit accounts.
The bank has been one of the most-sought-after counters at the NSE, having gained 40 per cent over the past six months and foreigners now own 46.63 per cent of the lender compared to 40.82 per cent in October 2011.
Since debut on the bourse on August 7, 2006, the share has appreciated by more than 900 per cent, taking into account splits and bonus stocks in what has made its owners, including employees, directors and founders, millionaires.

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