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NIC taps Ecobank finance chief as it ups Tanzania stake

 John Gachora, Group MD, NIC Bank. Photo/Diana Ngila
John Gachora, Group MD, NIC Bank. Photo/Diana Ngila 

NIC Bank Tuesday appointed a new finance chief from Ecobank as the mid-tier lender announced the acquisition of additional 17.9 per cent stake in its Tanzanian subsidiary.

The bank named Minudi Lore as its finance director, a position that has been vacant since July when Joseph Mutugu quit.  

Mr Lore was previously the chief financial officer of Ecobank’s east Africa business and joins NIC together with Rosalind Kimani-Gichuru — who has been appointed as head of marketing. Ms Kimani-Gichuru previously worked at Coca-Cola.

The bank also announced that it has increased its stake in NIC Bank Tanzania to 68.97 per cent from 51 per cent after buying additional shares following a Sh451 million (Tsh8.5 billion) rights issue.

The Nairobi bourse-listed lender last year set aside Sh608 million for the cash call, buying additional stake from existing shareholders as well the rights not bought by investors of the subsidiary.

“NIC Bank Tanzania undertook a very successful rights issue of Tsh8.5 billion, which saw the parent company increase its’ shareholding to 68.97 per cent,” said the bank in a statement indicating that  the Kenyan unit injected Sh308 million (Tsh5.8 billion).

“The board and management of NIC Bank are pleased to announce the appointment of three senior executives effective February 2014,” added the bank in a separate statement that also confirmed Maurice Opiyo as head of its investment banking unit. Mr Opiyo had been acting in the position since April.

Since last January, NIC has made six top executive appointments for a lender that has had minimal changes over the past five years, including on its board.

It tapped Margaret Kimuma in November as executive director in charge of credit risk while John Gachora became CEO in September following the appointment of James Macharia as Health secretary in May.

READ: NIC Bank appoints first woman executive director
Last January it hired Edgar Kalya as the retail director. Mr Kalya was acting consumer banking director at Barclays Bank of Kenya.

The latest appointments have increased the number of women in the bank’s top management that was hitherto a male-dominated executive suite.

Ms Kimani-Gichuru, who was previously the strategic manager at Coca-Cola’s sub-Saharan business ,joins Ms Kimuma among NIC’s top managers.

Its board, which is closely watched by the family of the late Central Bank governor Philip Ndegwa, has seen little changes in composition in recent years, with the bulk of directors having served between 12 and 20 years.

The Ndegwas entered NIC Bank in 1996 after they acquired a 20 per cent stake from Barclays through First Chartered Securities — an investment firm founded in 1974 by the family patriarch. They currently own a quarter of the bank and James Ndegwa, the son of the former governor, chairs its board.

NIC profit rose 17.6 per cent to Sh2.81 billion in the nine months to September and its share at the Nairobi bourse has gained 3.3 per cent over the past six months to Sh62.

Funds raised from Tanzania’s rights issue will finance branch expansion, with the target being to reach more small and medium-sized enterprises.

In Kenya, the lender has a strong base in corporate banking and asset financing.

Regional growth

NIC Bank ventured into Tanzania in 2009 by acquiring a 51 per cent stake in Savings & Finance Commercial Bank, which it later renamed.

The subsidiary accounted for about 3.5 per cent of NIC Bank profits in 2012.

In 2012, NIC raised Sh2 billion in a rights issue, with part of the capital being used to start new operations in Uganda. The group has already registered the business name in Rwanda and Zambia.

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