Pan-African lender Ecobank has appointed Jeremy Awori as the new chief executive to replace Ade Ayeyemi who is set to retire after attaining the age of 60 in accordance with the bank's policy.
Mr Awori announced his exit from Absa Bank Kenya last week after serving as chief executive for nearly 10 years.
The Lome-based lender has operations in 35 African countries with an asset base of Sh3.3 trillion ($27.5 billion) and more than 32 million customers across the continent.
“Jeremy Awori is a highly respected leader in the banking industry with significant achievements in his previous capacities. The Board of Directors strongly believes that his drive and a strong focus on results will be vital in steering the Group in its next phase,” Ecobank Group chairman said in a statement on Monday.
Mr Awori is exiting Absa Bank where he has spent nearly 10 years on a permanent contract.
The Absa boss has helped the bank to achieve significant commercial milestones over the past decade including the rebranding of the lender.
Barclays Africa, which rebranded to Absa, was among the first banks to introduce ATMs in Kenya but was among the last to start dispensing cash over mobile phones through its Timiza platform.
Under Mr Awori, the bank has made a deliberate shift toward digital banking and has committed to investing billions in digitisation, automation and innovation.
The lender launched its 24-hour virtual assistant dabbed Abby that will help customers to facilitate transactions and customise experience.
Mr Awori said the lender plans to further diversify revenues by increasing investment in areas it has limited presence, including asset management, consumer payments, custody business and investment banking with an eye on advisory, mergers and acquisitions.
“It is a great honour to be appointed Ecobank Group’s chief executive officer. I look forward to consolidating the transformation of Ecobank, a truly pan-African institution full of talented people while innovating to create value for all Ecobank’s stakeholders," Jeremy Awori said responding to his appointment.
The West African lender will be leveraging Mr Awori’s experience in the Barclays Bank exit from Africa and operations in Kenya’s digital banking ecosystem to drive growth.
By going digital Kenyan banks have tapped the grassroots, a step that is earning the lenders higher returns than their West African peers who are still chasing corporate C-suites.