By M&M writer
Kenya’s biggest banking group by customer numbers Equity Group has today made management changes in a move that signalled the succession planning for its long serving Chief Executive Dr James Mwangi.
Last month the group’s long serving chairman Peter Munga exited after 35 years in the position.
In the changes announced today, the group elevated its long serving Group Director of Strategy, Legal Services and Company Secretary Mary Wangari Wamae as Group Executive Director overseeing the Group’s subsidiaries.
Wamae has been a key cog in Equity’s growth where she has served the group for 14 years.
She joined the then building society in 2004 as the Head of Legal Services before her promotion to Company Secretary and Head of Legal Services in 2005.
In 2008, Wamae rose to become Director of Corporate Strategy, Legal Services and Company Secretary and in 2012 became Group Company Secretary, Director of Corporate Strategy and Legal Services. In 2014, Wamae was promoted to Group Director of Strategy, Legal Services and Group Company Secretary, a position she has held until her recent promotion.
While running her private legal practice before joining the bank, Wamae was the team leader in facilitating the first strategic investment in Equity Bank by AfriCap Microfinance Fund in 2002. She has led the Group in several strategic projects, including the conversion from Equity Building Society to a commercial bank in 2004; the listing on Nairobi Stock Exchange in 2006; private capital raising of US$185 million new equity by Helios EB Investors in 2007 to become anchor strategic shareholder; setup of greenfield operations in Tanzania, South Sudan and Rwanda as well as the acquisition of existing banking operations in Uganda and more recently Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); and subsequent listings on Uganda Securities Exchange (2009) and Rwanda Stock Exchange (2015).
Wamae’s new role will include overseeing the management of the Group’s banking subsidiaries in DRC Congo, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and South Sudan.
Effectively, this means the boards and chief executives of the regional subsidiaries will be reporting to her making her the second most powerful person in the group.
Her previous position has been split into two roles: Group Director of Legal Services & Company Secretary, which has been taken up by Christine Akinyi Browne and Group Director of Strategy, Strategic Partnerships & Investor Relations, taken up by Brent Malahay.
Speaking on the promotions, Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi said: “These promotions and recent appointments affirm Equity Group as an equal opportunity employer. The Group’s organisational structure is evolving to match the transformation of Equity Group and the complexity of its regional operations.”
“We are reorganising the structure in line with the Group’s growth as reflected in the capital base, asset base and client base in response to the funding and infrastructure capability as well as to reposition ourselves for opportunities that will open up from the anticipated growth locally and in the region,” added Dr. Mwangi.
These appointments come hot on the heels of the appointments of Polycarp Igathe as the Group Chief Commercial Officer and Julius Kayoboke as the Group Director in charge of Customer Experience and Product Management.