Etemesi moves to StanChart South Africa as CEO

 Mr Richard Etemesi: He will head units in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mauritius. FILE
Mr Richard Etemesi: He will head units in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mauritius. FILE 

Standard Chartered Bank CEO Richard Etemesi has been promoted to head the lender’s South African unit and four other countries, making him one of Kenya’s highest ranking executives in a multinational bank.

Mr Etemesi, 51, will take his new role in Johannesburg as CEO South Africa & Southern Africa once all local regulatory requirements have been approved and concluded, the bank said on Wednesday.

He will also be in charge of Stanchart operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mauritius in the new role, replacing Ebby Essoka who has been appointed the bank’s vice chairman, Africa. 

Mr Etemesi will be replaced on January 1 as head of the Kenya and East Africa business by Lamin Manjang, who has been tapped from Stanchart Oman where he was the chief executive.

Mr Etemesi was the first Kenyan to head the bank’s local operations when he was appointed CEO in November 2006. Mr Manjang, 48, is from The Gambia.

“Ebby, Richard and Lamin will drive our ambitious plans to invest over $100 million over the next three years, as we open 110 new branches by 2015, while strengthening our products and services and developing our talented staff,” said Diana Layfield, Standard Chartered’s CEO Africa region in a statement.

“Under Richard’s leadership over the past six years, the bank’s East African franchises have been among the fastest growing in the group globally, with Kenya posting income growth of 34 per cent in 2012.”

But the Kenyan unit has lost out in the profit ranking to indigenous banks led by KCB Group, Equity Bank and Co-operative Bank based on the financial statements for the period to September.

In 2006, Stanchart was ranked as Kenya’s second profitable lender behind Barclays Bank. The bank is now ranked fourth.

Mr Etemesi will now handle a larger business compared to his east Africa role.

Mr Manjang will also be faced by the vicious fight for control of market share pitting the top five lenders, especially nimbler rivals like Equity and Co-operative Bank.

But it remains to be seen whether he will stick with Stanchart’s model of focusing on corporate banking and serving the middle class.

The executive shifts at Stanchart come in a year when the local banking seen has changed CEOs at the quickest pace, ushering in new leaders in an industry that has maintained double-digit growth the past five years.

Four of the banks listed at the Nairobi bourse have this year made changes to their corner offices including Barclays, NIC Bank and KCB Group.

Most of the appointments were Kenyans in the diaspora. This includes John Gachora (NIC Bank), Jeremy Awori (Barclays Bank of Kenya) and Munir Ahmed (National Bank).