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Igathe returns to corporate world with Equity Bank job

Nairobi County Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
Former Nairobi County Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe. PHOTO | FILE 

Former Nairobi Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe is set to join Equity Bank #ticker:EQTY as the Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), marking a return to the corporate world five months after his venture into politics ended with an abrupt resignation.

Equity Bank is also set to make public the appointment of Christine Brown as the new company secretary.

The former holder of the company secretary position Mary Wamae becomes the new Executive Director in charge of Equity Bank’s subsidiaries in Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and South Sudan. 

The appointments are subject to approval of the Central Bank of Kenya.

Mr Igathe’s new position will see him take charge of Equity Bank’s product innovation and strategy, according to people with knowledge of the appointments.

The CCO and company secretary positions have been created from the position of director of corporate strategy and company secretary previously held by Ms Wamae.

As the director for subsidiaries, Ms Wamae will coordinate and manage the bank’s activities outside Kenya, taking over from Equity Group’s chief executive officer James Mwangi.

Equity Bank has also approved an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) for its Congo employees through issuance and allotment of 125,371 ordinary shares in Equity Bank Congo amounting to five per cent of the issues share capital in the Congolese unit.

Mr Igathe’s resigned as Nairobi’s Deputy Governor in January, choosing to walk out after his relationship with Governor Mike Sonko turned sour. In his resignation letter, tabled five months after he assumed his role at City Hall, Mr Igathe cited his failure to earn the trust of Sonko. He said the distrust deterred him from working effectively for Nairobi residents. The position is still vacant.

Prior to joining the murky game of politics Mr Igathe had served as Managing Director of Vivo Energy, a position he had held since February 2013. He is also a previous MD of Haco Industries. Mr Igathe has in the past also served as chair of two powerful business lobbies; the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, and Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

Mr Sonko had declared on his campaign trail that he wanted to tap a deputy from the business community – perhaps a strategy to endear himself to Nairobi investors.

Announcing his departure at Vivo, Mr Igathe showed enthusiasm about joining politics and was hopeful that his tenure would be impactful.

“I have taken a leap of faith; I have left a job in the private sector to come into the political arena because I represent all small, medium and big business interests who clearly know this city is 60 per cent of the GDP of our country. It can no longer be left in the hands of people who have no clue,” said Mr Igathe.

His gamble into politics paid off after the pair won on a Jubilee ticket but five months into his new job he hang his boots.

Nairobi County has in recent months been dogged by a myriad of challenges that include uncollected piles of garbage, potholed roads and increased insecurity.

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