Rafiki Microfinance initiates search for new CEO


Rafiki Microfinance is looking for a new chief executive to replace its former CEO Ken Obimbo who recently left the post. FILE PHOTO

Rafiki Microfinance is looking for a new chief executive to replace its former CEO Ken Obimbo who recently left the post.

Mr Obimbo who has been CEO since 2015 exited the company in March this year.

Mr Obimbo took over from Daniel Mavindu currently serving as the lender's chairman.

Rafiki is working with an executive headhunter on the CEO search.

"The CEO will be expected to provide effective strategic leadership and direction to the management team with a view to accomplish the mandate of the bank," said the firm involved in the search in a notice published in newspapers.

"Minimum qualifications (include) at least ten years of direct experience in financial services, seven of which should have been in top management positions in a Microfinance bank or similar environment."

Ahead of the expected corner office hiring Rafiki has tapped its Chief Finance Officer Paul Karanja Macharia to the helm of the CEO post in acting capacity.

Mr Macharia has previously worked at Equity Bank and Chase Bank (Finance Departments) and was a Finance Manager at Chase Bank before joining Rafiki in 2016. 

He will be acting CEO from 1st April 2021 for 90 days as the search for a substantive CEO is undertaken.

The search for a new CEO comes at a time the microfinancier has recorded a string of high profile exits.

Former long serving Head of Marketing and Corporate Affairs Zak Syengo is among the senior executives who have left the company in recent weeks.

Mr Syengo has resigned but is serving notice pending his exit.

Rafiki Microfinance Bank was a subsidiary of Chase Bank and launched its operations in the Kenyan market in 2011 targeting the microfinance industry.

Chase Bank was placed under receivership on April 7, 2016 following a run on deposits after reports of liquidity problems spread online.

Chase Bank was re-opened on April 27, 2016 under the management of the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC).

Mauritian lender SBM Bank in 2018 carved out and bought 75 per cent of certain assets and liabilities from Chase Bank in what was considered as cherry-picking ‘good assets.’

Rafiki was a subsidiary of Chase bank but was not bought by SBM. 

It is currently oversighted by KDIC as the company hunts for a strategic investor to buy out the Chase bank shareholding.

Rafiki is the third largest microfinance institution in Kenya. Rafiki has 19 branches spread across 11 counties in Kenya.