Paul Russo takes over as NBK boss after Central Bank nod

paul russo

Paul Russo. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Fomer KCB group #ticker:KCB regional business director Paul Russo has formally taken over as the managing director of National Bank of Kenya (NBK), effectively ending Wilfred Musau’s tenure at the capital-constrained bank.

Mr Russo has received approval from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on Thursday and will now oversee the transitional two-year period that will culminate into full absorption of NBK into KCB Group.

This follows the successful acquisition of 100 per cent ordinary shares in NBK.

“I have full confidence that Mr Russo will steer NBK in the right direction and succeed in the integration task ahead,” KCB Group chief executive Joshua Oigara said.

“I wish to assure NBK customers that they will continue to receive enhanced products and services throughout the integration period and that they should rest assured that they are now part of a bigger and stronger family.”

KCB said the NBK board will be reorganised in the coming weeks to provide guidance during the integration period, even as it announced that it has assigned the outgoing managing director Mr Musau a new role to support the transition.

Unclear role

It was not immediately clear what specific role he will play and how KCB group will handle his immediate former contract as the managing director. His contract was to end in October 2021.

He joined NBK in September 2015 as the director responsible for retail and premium banking before being appointed as the managing director in April 2016 following the controversial exit of Munir Ahmed.

KCB wants to maintain NBK as a standalone subsidiary of KCB Group post-acquisition, and thereafter fully integrate it into KCB Bank Kenya within a period of two years.

This will mark the end of NBK brand, which was incorporated in 1968 as a wholly-owned government entity.

NBK also owns NBK Insurance Agency Limited, and Natbank Trustee and Investment Service Limited.

Streamline systems

According to the earlier KCB offer document for the acquisition of NBK, the transitional period will serve to “streamline human resources, systems, processes and procedures” to realise efficiency and productivity synergies.

The acquisition is expected to buttress the KCB’s position as the largest bank by asset base in the East African region.

The merged entity is expected to create Sh1 trillion balance sheet financial institution by end of 2022.