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HF hires former NIC Bank executive as its new CEO

HF Group outgoing CEO Frank Ireri (left) hands
HF Group outgoing CEO Frank Ireri (left) hands over to new chief executive officer Robert Kibaara as HF Group chairman Steve Mainda looks on. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Mortgage financier HF Group #ticker:HFCK has appointed former NIC Bank #ticker:NIC director of retail banking Robert Kibaara as its new chief executive officer to replace Frank Ireri who retires in March next year.

The post had been held in an acting capacity by Sam Waweru, the managing director of the company’s banking subsidiary HFC Limited, as Mr Ireri took medical leave ahead of his retirement after 13 years on the job.

Mr Kibaara is expected to help implement the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm’s plan to grow into a fully-fledged bank, with the company de-emphasising its property investment business that has been hit by a slowdown in the real estate sector.

“The appointment of Mr Kibaara marks a critical milestone for the group as it comes at a time when HF has embarked on a new turnaround strategy focusing on full service banking, with investment in digital and retail banking,” HF’s chairman Steve Mainda said in a statement.

“In his new role, Mr Kibaara will provide strategic leadership and oversight of the group’s turnaround strategy.”

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Mr Kibaara has 24 years of banking experience, having held senior roles at institutions such as Standard Chartered Bank #ticker:SCBK, National Bank of Kenya #ticker:NBK and Barclays Bank of Kenya #ticker:BBK.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Banking and Finance from University of Sunderland (UK) and a post-graduate diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) UK.

He joins HF at a time when the lender has posted one of its worst performances in recent years on the back of rising defaults, forcing it to scale down its lending.

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