Barclays picks new head for Kenya, eyes merging Africa operations

Tuesday November 27 2012

Jeremy Awori, in a file picture. Mr Awori has been appointed the new chief executive officer (CEO) for its Kenyan operations, replacing Adan Mohamed who takes up a new role in the lender’s sub-Saharan business. File

Barclays Bank has appointed Jeremy Awori as the new chief executive officer (CEO) for its Kenyan operations, replacing Adan Mohamed who takes up a new role in the lender’s sub-Saharan business.

Mr Adan, until now the managing director for East and West Africa and also heads the Kenyan operation has since been appointed as chief administrative officer (CAO) for Barclays Africa.

Mr Mohamed will head the bank’s operations in Kenya, Uganda, Barclays Tanzania, National Bank of Commerce Tanzania Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Ghana and Nigeria.

Mr Awori, whose appointment to BBK is subject to regulatory approvals was previously the CEO and MD of Standard Chartered Bank, Tanzania as well as its regional sales & performance director for its Dubai operations. He will report to Mr Mohamed.

The new appointments, which will take effect on February 1. 2013 are part of efforts by the bank to merge its African operations into one, the bank said in a statement Tuesday. It currently operates as Absa in South Africa and Barclays in the rest of the continent.

“Adan’s performance at Barclays Kenya fits the profile of the leadership we seek; to drive an ambitious Pan-African foray that touches the entire financial services spectrum as the leading financial services group in the continent, “said Kennedy Bungane, Barclays Africa chief executive and head of Africa group strategy.


“As part of our One Africa Strategy, we are continuing with efforts to join our capabilities and our people across Africa not only to become one bank but also to uniquely position ourselves to deliver a superior client experience on the continent.

Achieving the One Africa Strategy requires us to align both our operating model and leadership structure in a manner that positions us as truly one bank in Africa, ” he said.

The CAO will be based in Nairobi; a choice which Mr Bungane said was informed by the emergence of Nairobi as the economic and commercial hub for regional and global businesses in Sub Saharan Africa, which he said is supported by the number of global business conglomerates setting up their African hubs in Kenya.

Barclays is seeking to centralise its operations on the continent in a planned merger with Absa Group. Barclays Bank Kenya in August filed a cautionary notice with the Nairobi Securities Exchange over the planned merger of its parent company, Barclays UK's Africa operations with those of Absa Group.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals in the UK and in African countries where Barclays and Absa have offices is expected to be completed by next year. The proposed merger will affect Barclays' operations in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the Indian Ocean with Absa. Barclays Bank PLC will remain the majority shareholder of the combined African operations.

However, the merger is unlikely to affect the local listing of Barclays Bank Kenya. The new head of Barclays Kenya comes in at a time when the bank is struggling to watch the growth line of its peers.

Whereas the bank’s net profit for the first nine months of the year increased 2.2 per cent to Ksh6.2 billion ($75.2 million) in the period to September, Standard Chartered’s net earnings were up 66.3 per cent to Ksh6.4 billion ($157 million).

KCB’s net profit grew 45.6 per cent to Ksh9.3 billion ($109 million) while Equity‘s jumped 13.8 per cent to Ksh8.3 billion ($97 million). Analyst say Barclays bank has lost ground against its peers due to its conservative approach to risk, choosing stability in place of growth.