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NIC finance chief quits two months after CEO’s exit

A branch of NIC Bank on Wabera Street in Nairobi. Photo/FILE
A branch of NIC Bank on Wabera Street in Nairobi. Photo/FILE  Nation Media Group

NIC Bank’s finance director has quit, barely two months after its CEO left to join the government.

The Business Daily learnt that Joseph Mutugu left last week after failing to agree on strategy with the bank.

The executive shift means that NIC will be searching for the two senior most heads after it named the executive director in charge of corporate banking as acting CEO as it seeks a permanent successor to James Macharia, now the Health secretary.

Mr Macharia, who was sworn in on May 15, had led the bank since 2005.

The bank did not comment on this article and Mr Mutugu’s mobile phone went unanswered. He also failed to respond to our SMS query about his exit

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“Mr Mutugu no longer works with the NIC. He resigned this week,” said a source at the bank on condition of anonymity.

His exit after a three-year stint as head of NIC’s cash office comes at a time when Kenya’s two top banks, Equity and KCB, have returned to the market to shop for chief financial officers. Analysts reckon that NIC Bank will not have an easy task in getting a new head of finance in a market reeling from a shortage of CFOs.

“The Kenyan market for CFOs is limited,” said investment analysts Renaissance Capital in an earlier client brief.

KCB is on an executive job search that will also fill a number of posts that has been informed by retirements and a review of its organisation structure led by CEO Joshua Oigara who rose to the helm in January.

Equity Bank looked inward in June and promoted John Staley, the director of mobile banking, to the CFO position, replacing Samson Oduor who left the bank in March after serving for six months.

NIC Bank’s executive suite has had a few changes over the past three years unlike other top banks, save for this year.

In January, it hired Edgar Kalya as retail director from Barclays Bank of Kenya where he was acting consumer banking director.

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

The Ndegwa’s entered NIC Bank in 1996 after they acquired a 20 per cent stake from Barclays Bank of Kenya through First Chartered Securities — an investment firm founded in 1974 by the family patriarch Philip.

They currently own a quarter of the bank and the son of the former Governor, James Ndegwa, chairs its board.

The bank’s board picked Allan Dodd, who has served as executive director for corporate banking since 2006.

The new chief executive of NIC Bank will be expected to step up expansion into foreign markets, especially within East Africa. It has subsidiaries in Tanzania and Uganda.

The leader will also be expected to reverse the slowdown in profits the mid-tier lender faced in the first quarter running through March.

NIC’s profits rose 20 per cent to Sh1.2 billion in the period to March, compared with 29 per cent growth in the same period a year earlier.

Mr Mutugu, who holds an MBA from the prestigious Harvard University, previously worked at Barclays Bank.

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