By Gitahi Ngunyi
Polycarp Igathe has been named Equity Bank Kenya Managing Director in what appears to be part of a quickly unfolding succession game at Kenya’s biggest banking group by customer numbers.
Igathe has replaced the buoyant Dr James Mwangi who rescued the bank from near insolvency in the 1990’s and built it to the banking giant it has become.
Two months ago, in a move that signalled Mwangi’s succession, the banking group elevated its former long serving director of legal services and company secretary Mary Wamae to Group Executive Director in charge of subsidiaries.
In the new management changes, Mwangi will now only be managing director of the group holding company.
Igathe joined the banking group five months ago as the Group Chief Operating Office shortly after resigning as Nairobi Deputy Governor.
In a statement explaining the latest management changes the banking group said Igathe’s new appointment marks the completion of the Group’s strategy of separating the management of its subsidiaries from that of the Holding Company.
Mwangi extolled Igathe leadership credential termining him ‘result oriented’ and ‘focused.’
“Polycarp’s strong values and passion have enabled him to quickly fit well in the Equity Group organizational culture. He has distinguished himself as a results oriented and committed business leader who is renowned for fostering productive partnerships with external stakeholders and customers, resulting in delivery of outstanding company results. He has taken over a very successful subsidiary and market leader. We believe he has the skills, competence, capability and vision to retain Equity Bank Kenya in its leadership position while taking it to the next level, ” said Mwangi.
In his new position as Equity Bank Kenya Managing Director, Igathe will now be in charge of 75 percent of the banking groups assets and also the most profitable of the Group’s subsidiary.
He will be reporting to Wamae.