Companies

KCB picks insider Paul Russo as new CEO

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National Bank of Kenya Managing Director Paul Russo. NMG PHOTO

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Summary

  • KCB Group has picked the managing director of its subsidiary National Bank of Kenya (NBK) Paul Russo as the new chief executive effective May 25, the board announced on Tuesday. 

  • Mr Russo is a human resources management professional who has turned around NBK which KCB acquired in 2019.  

KCB Group has picked the managing director of its subsidiary National Bank of Kenya (NBK) Paul Russo as the new chief executive effective May 25, the board announced on Tuesday. 

Mr Russo is a human resources management professional who has turned around NBK which KCB acquired in 2019.  

He takes over at the second-biggest lender by assets from the long-serving boss Joshua Oigara whose term expires in December.

“Paul, who takes over from Mr Joshua Oigara, brings a wealth of experience in banking, operational management, people management, strategy and a sharp business acumen," the board said in a statement.

Mr Russo served as KCB Group head of human resources before being appointed to run NBK in 2019 after KCB completed the acquisition. He also previously served at Barclays, now Absa, and audit firm PwC.

Also read: BIKO INTERVIEW: NBK boss who keeps camels

The lender in March quietly extended the term of Mr Oigara by a year to allow it to search for a successor.

The extension, until December 31, was the second extension for the 47-year-old who earlier said he was open to ending his nine-year term end of last year.

Read: KCB quietly extends CEO Oigara’s contract by one year

Mr Oigara was first appointed to the position in January 2013.

His term has been the most rewarding, benefiting from the performance-based pay that has cemented his position among Kenya’s top-paid executives.

KCB, which also operates in neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, has returned double-digit profit growth for most years since he was hired.

He has more than tripled the bank’s asset value from Sh390 billion in 2012 to Sh1.22 trillion.

The bank’s net profit stood at Sh34.2.6 billion in 2021 from Sh19.6 billion a year, rising from Sh14.3 billion in 2013.

“The board acknowledges Joshua's immense contribution in driving the growth of the Group business over the decade. He has been instrumental in deepening financial inclusion and social impact across East Africa," the board said in a statement.

“Joshua will remain for a period of time to support the transition."

Mr Russo holds an MBA from Strathmore Business School and a Business Management degree from Moi University. He also holds a senior executive program for Africa certificate from Harvard Business School and a higher diploma in human resource management from the Institute of Human Resources Kenya.