Nairobi 2nd September 2019………Equity has attracted and named the head of financial institutions in East and Southern Africa at the IFC as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer. As the Group accelerates its digitization efforts and Pan African expansion, John Wilson will oversee operations at the Group level while Bhartesh Shah will head up the Group’s Enterprise Risk Management.
John Wilson, a Swedish national, has had a long and highly successful career in banking and finance. He spent a total of 14 years at the World Bank, where he worked at the IFC (private sector arm of the World Bank Group with over USD 90 Billion in assets) for 11 years and another 3 years at the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, IBRD (the public sector arm of the World Bank Group). At IFC, John served as the Global Head of Banking and Chief Banking specialist as well as the Manager in charge of Financial institutions Group for East and Southern Africa. At the IBRD, he served as private sector specialist and investment officer. He has also spent part of his career life working with the banking sector in Sweden for over 12 years during which he held various senior positions in Swedbank, ending as the Managing Director, Head of Investment Banking Kaupthing Bank. Earlier in his career, he spent 5 years at McKinsey during which he accumulated a wealth of experience at senior management level.
Speaking while making the announcement, Dr James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO Equity Group Holdings Plc said “John brings international experience and joins a team of highly talented experts who are driving our Equity 3.0 strategy that will see the Group complete digitization and virtualization of the Bank while accelerating our Pan African expansion to 15 countries by 2024. His depth of expertise and understanding of the African financial institutions will be invaluable as the Group takes a leading role in the Africa region".
The recruitment reflects the Group’s focus to strengthening its depth of capacity and capability as it continues to grow and evolve to a global financial institution. As an experienced banker with economic background, John will help to analyse the economic environment in the various countries the Group is operating in and advise on how to localize its strategy. The Group recently signed a preliminary agreement with Atlas Mara Limited that will see the Bank’s entry into Zambia and Mozambique which are mineral rich economies in addition to DRC where it started its operations in 2015. In July 2019, the Group opened a Commercial Representative Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
John will enhance the execution of strategy and operational oversight of the entire business including the subsidiaries as Mary Wamae Group Executive Director focuses on leadership and governance of the various business lines, while Bhartesh, a career banker, oversees the comprehensive Group enterprise risk management.
Dr. Mwangi added: “The Group is accelerating expansion efforts by leveraging on the strength of our brand, and our versatile technology platform through digitization and virtualization. Through our shared services platform, our expansion to new markets is a “plug and play” approach, backed up by a strong talented team that has invested in making banking an integrated part of everyday lifestyle. John will be a valuable player in this strategy".
John is an alumni of the ivy league Princeton University where he graduated with a Masters degree in Public affairs while he also obtained another Masters in Economics from Uppsala University in Sweden
His appointment in the new role is subject to approval by the Central Bank of Kenya.
Equity Bank is currently the largest bank in Eastern and Central Africa region with over 14 Million customers, the largest in market capitalization and the second largest in balance sheet. It is listed at the Nairobi securities exchange and cross listed in Uganda Stock Exchange and Rwanda Stock Exchange. It has banking subsidiaries
in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC.
The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2019 ranked Equity as the 16th Best Bank in the world on return on assets, 32nd Best Bank in return on capital, 75th best on soundness measured on capital asset ratio, 844th largest bank in the world and the fastest growing large bank in Africa.
In Kenya, the bank emerged the Overall Best Bank in the 2019 Think Business Banking Awards for the 8th year in a row. It was also ranked as the Best Tier 1 Bank, Best Bank in SME Banking, Best in Agency Banking, Best Bank in Digital Marketing, Best Bank in Internet Banking, Best Bank in Mobile Banking, Best Commercial bank Microfinance, Best Microfinance Bank in Agriculture & Livestock Financing, Best Bank in Product Marketing, Best Bank in Corporate Social Responsibility, and runners up best bank in asset finance, Retail Banking, Mortgage finance, and customer satisfaction.
Euromoney 2019 awarded Equity Bank the Africa’s Best Digital Bank, 2019 while African Banker Awards 2019 recognized Equity bank as the Most Socially Responsible Bank in Africa, 2019.
Global Credit Agency (GCR), maintained the credit rating of the Bank at AA- (long-term and A1+ (short-term) and rating outlook of Stable in 2018 while Moody’s has maintained Equity’s National rating of Aa3.ke/ KE-1 similar to the sovereign rating, with a global rating of B2. The agency has given a stable outlook to Equity Bank.
This distinction further validates Equity as the country’s preferred bank by SMEs.
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