Musical Chairs

After steering Kenya Commercial Bank to profitability, respectability and restoring shareholder confidence (a long process that began with Gareth George), KCB group CEO Terry Davidson could be on his way out. The bank had advertised for the group CEO position as Davidson’s contract will expire in mid 2007. Applications should be sent to Manpower Associates (Naiorbi) within the next two weeks. Who will replace him? Only a career banker can, as the JD specified applicants must be under 50 years of age and have worked in banking for at least 15 years, with at least 10 in senior management. In 2005, KCB created the post of deputy CEO and selected former finance permanent secretary, Martin Oduor Otieno who still holds the job.

Also looking for new leadership is the (about to have an IPO) Kenya Reinsurance Corporation which has also advertised to replaced their suspended managing director and head of finance. (Interested? Apply to by 16/2)

10 thoughts on “Musical Chairs

  1. Anonymous

    Well, that is sad. I’d have thought
    a) they would let him stay and steer them thru the bad loan clean-up and also set them to compete with BBK and SCB
    b)they would have been greaing Martin Odour up for the job seeing he is assist.
    Not ideal timing at all-worse in fact.

  2. sijui

    Good, he deserves a pat on the back but I have always resented the fact that an expat is almost always penciled in to head KCB. Gareth George was incompetent, mediocre and an under-achiever…..granted those were principal qualifications to head a parastatal under MOI however times have changed and there is PLENTY OF LOCAL TALENT TO FILL HIS SHOES.

    Will be watching closely privatisation of Kenya RE…..have vested interests in a smooth and orderly transfer 🙂

  3. coldtusker

    Sijui – You are WRONG.
    Gareth George was competent. I think he was sourced from BBK or SCBK.

    GG was fired (by moi) for insisting that the politically-connected repay their loans. He went after them in court & also in the media. Among these were arap bii (ex-GM) of KCB.

    Terry Davidson learnt that going after moi’s pigs directly is not a good idea. He lucked out when NARC came in so the ex-kanu pigs were in trouble.
    Also kibz showed some spine in the early days & moi’s pigs cut deals with KCB. Note that mugoya was one of these firms that ultimately failed.

    GG set the ball rolling but he hit headwind as moi’s & kanu’s pigs made last minute stands to siphon cash but were stopped cold by GG. He suspended all lending while cleaning up the books.

    Expat or not… choose the best for the job. After all choosing an incompetent local over competent expat always means more losses!

    In the US, many ‘foreigners’ are CEOs, etc… at the end of the day PROFITS matter.

  4. coldtusker

    The good news:
    – Accountability for the top job even if the CEO has to reapply
    – Accountability for the top job even if the deputy-CEO has to reapply

    The bad news:
    – Will the new guy/gal be of similar vision & mettle as TD?
    – How much say will minority shareholders have?
    – How much influence will mbaru & kirubi exert through their shareholding in KCB?
    – We know how much damage kirubi did to our money in Uchumi.
    – Will KCB be the preferred lender for Transcentury?

  5. coldtusker

    Sijui – I don’t think you are fully aware of KCB’s past…

    “I have always resented the fact that an expat is almost always penciled in to head KCB” – Sijui

    You are being emotional. You are being racist. You are wrong.

    Fact: The rot started with kaminchia & bii
    Fact: kaminchia & bii are Kenyans.
    Fact: KCB booked huge ‘fake’ profits that were boosted by low levels of bad debt reserves on loans made to politicians & the politically connected.
    Fact: KCB was on the brink of insolvency, staff were slothful & corruption was rife. I know coz I was a customer.
    Fact: GG was brought in to clean up the mess.
    Fact: KCB (under GG) took major steps to clean up the Balance Sheet to clean up the Balance Sheet. This involved writing off numerous loans.

    A pity you resent expats (I am not one but I was a bitter shareholder of KCB) & not the incompetent “locals” who ran the bank down!

    Fact: KCB would have collapsed under kaminchia if not for govt & parastatal deposits. KCB was the govt’s bank.
    Fact: NBK has not had an expat CEO in 15 years & (being sarcastic) it is the paragon of a healthy bank!
    Fact: NBK is technically insolvent. look at their ratios but is kept afloat using NSSF funds.

    Fact: There are qualified Kenyans & they do get the jobs e.g. Naikuni at KQ, Mahinda at EABL, etc.

  6. coldtusker

    Fact: If I had invested KES 10,000 into BBK or StanChart in 1995 instead of KCB… I would have been much happier/richer!

    Fact: Investing KES 10,000 in BBK or SCBK in 1995 would have been a far better decision than investing in NBK

    I have a friend who would like an appointment with kaminchia or simba (ex-chairman of NBK) in a back alley. He will bring his rungu.

  7. bankelele

    sijui: George may have cut some corners but he got them started in the right direction. Barclays, Stanchart, KQ and other blue chips have shown that there’s enbough local talent. don’t forget – TD is himself a Kenyan
    (don’t forget)

    coldtusker: TD has now confirmed that he’s stepping down voluntarily. Good timing to exit as the top. (George was ex-Barclays but he got off to a bad start with his inflated [at that time]compensation package)

  8. MainaT

    Ok, I am the one who commented as anon-too time-pressed/lazy to log-in.
    Sijui-moi is a Kenyan and look at what a mess he made. How many qualified Kenyans have we allowed to run our businesses-look at the owners/heads of the NSE counters-not that many?

    I don’t think its good timing for me as a shareholder-I am definitely bailing out until i see who/what the new guy can do.

  9. Sijui

    Sorry but I stick to my earlier assessment of Gareth George. I know enough hardworking and competent KCB staff persons who thought he would be the much touted ‘new broom that sweeps everything clean’…..he fell far lower than expectations, and was un-extroardinary in terms of competence. Granted maybe I am being stingy since the bar for performance was very, very, very low…..and you are absolutely right, there was a long list of indigenous incompetents. Bottom line, I have heard unanimous consensus that Terry Davidson was/is far better.

    Back to the issue of expats, there are enough mediocre expats holding plum positions with zero discernable productive output. I am all for the ‘free market’ when it comes to skills and qualifications, and definitely, meritocracy always. My issue, I’ve had dealings with enough of them to know that they are low lying fruit in terms of excellence in their respective far more competitive societies, and are seconded to countries like Kenya only because expectations are considerably lower. This may be a sweeping generalization, but outstanding managers are few and far between.

    May the best man win the KCB portfolio, and for your sake, may he/she bring vision, dynamism and competitiveness to the company.

  10. coldtusker

    Sijui – GG was not given enough time. KCB was overstaffed, undercapitalised & inefficient. GG had a tough job but ultimately it was not his performance but his ‘attack’ on the political pigs that got him fired.

    There was a racist tinge to your earlier comment. Apparently, TD, though White, is Kenyan so he is local talent.

    I will see who is made CEO after TD then decide if I will vote with my wallet.

    Fire the incompetent (Kenyan, Foreigner, Black, White, Brown, Green) & hire the BEST.

    The best gains are from well-managed firms regardless of the ‘color’ or ‘nationality’ of management. 4 of these over the past 5 years are Kenol, EABL & KQ.

    Kenol – Segman (Israeli)
    EABL – Mahinda (Kenyan with extensive foreign experience)
    KQ – Naikuni (A real no-nonsense go-getter)
    Mumias – Kidero (Turnaround artist)

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