Jeremy Awori heads to Ecobank Group as CEO after exit from Absa

Outgoing Absa Bank Kenya Chief Executive Jeremy Awori

Outgoing Absa Bank Kenya Chief Executive Jeremy Awori. He has been appointed the new CEO of pan-African lender Ecobank Group ahead of his formal exit from Absa at the end of October.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Outgoing Absa Bank Kenya Chief Executive Jeremy Awori has been appointed the new CEO of pan-African lender Ecobank Group ahead of his formal exit from Absa at the end of October.

Ecobank on Monday announced Mr Awori as its new head with its current CEO Ade Ayeyemi set to exit the lender after attaining the retirement age of 60 years.

Mr Ayeyemi has served as Ecobank CEO for seven years.

“Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the parent company of Ecobank Group, today announced that the current Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi will retire after he attains the age of 60, in accordance with ETI policy. The board of directors selected Jeremy Awori to succeed Ayeyemi as Group CEO. The relevant dates will be communicated in due course,” the bank said in a statement.

Operates in 35 countries

Ecobank, which is headquartered in Lome, Togo, operates in 35 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

“It is a great honour to be appointed Ecobank Group’s CEO. I look forward to consolidating the transformation of Ecobank while innovating to create value for all Ecobank’s stakeholders,” said Mr Awori on his appointment.

Absa last week announced the seasoned banker will exit the lender at the end of next month after nearly a decade at its helm.

Transformation from Barclays Bank

He has served as Absa CEO since his appointment in February 2013 and oversaw the lender’s successful transformation from Barclays Bank Kenya.

“I am honoured to have led Absa Kenya in making a difference in our society while achieving significant commercial milestones over the past decade. I am confident that Absa will scale greater heights going into the future,” said Mr Awori on his exit from Absa.

Mr Awori also served as the chairman of the Kenya Bankers Association for one year between June 2013 and July 2014.

Prior to his appointment to head Absa, he served as the CEO of Standard Chartered Tanzania between 2008 and 2013, having risen from being a sales director for the bank for Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Absa has grown steadily under Mr Awori’s tenure, increasing its net profits by 42 per cent from Sh7.62 billion to Sh10.8 billion it earned last year.

Dividend payment

The Nairobi Securities Exchange listed lender reinstated dividend payment of a total of Sh5.9 billion following its performance last year that saw its net profits grow by 161 per cent from the previous year.

Mr Awori successfully steered the bank’s transition from Barclays in 2020, spending heavily on changing its colours and brand identity.

This after UK lender Barclays Plc reduced its stake in Absa’s parent firm, Absa Group, from a majority 62.3 per cent to a minority 14.9 per cent in 2017, leading to a rebrand of all the Group’s subsidiaries in Africa.

Absa becomes the second tier-1 lender to see a leadership change this year following the exit of long-serving KCB CEO Joshua Oigara from his role in May.

Mr Awori and Mr Oigara, who were appointed just a month apart to their respective positions in 2013, are also exiting just four months apart after serving for nearly a decade at the two listed lenders.

Mr Oigara was replaced by Paul Russo, who had been serving as the managing director of KCB’s subsidiary National Bank of Kenya as well as the Group’s regional business director.