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KCB confirms CEO Joshua Oigara's exit, Paul Russo's appointment

By Brian Okoth | May 24th 2022 | 3 min read
By Brian Okoth | May 24th 2022
Outgoing KCB Chief Executive Officer Joshua Oigara. [File Standard]

The Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) has confirmed the exit of its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joshua Oigara.

Oigara will be replaced by Paul Russo, whose contract takes effect from Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

Oigara held the top seat for nine-and-half years.

“Joshua will be available for a period of time to support a smooth transition. Russo’s appointment follows a competitively run selection process that kicked off in March 2022,” KCB said in a press statement dated Tuesday, May 24.

Until his appointment, Russo served as the Managing Director of the National Bank. He also held the position of KCB Group Regional Business Director.

Paul Russo becomes the new CEO of KCB Group. [Courtesy of KCB]

The new KCB boss boasts of 20 years’ experience in the banking sector, holding various positions including the Group Human Resources Director of KCB.

Russo holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree from Strathmore University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from Moi University.

“Over the past eight years, while at KCB, he has been involved in the running of key strategic assignments within the Group, lately looking after the regional businesses (KCB’s business in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan as well as KCB Capital and KCB Bancassurance Intermediary) and the National Bank of Kenya,” said the firm in a press statement.

KCB Group chairperson Andrew Wambari Kairu described Russo as “the right person for the job”.

“He will take the Group to the next level in its growth ambitions to become the undisputed regional leader and drive much-needed business transformation for greater impact of economies and communities around us,” said Kairu.

On Oigara’s nearly ten-year service at KCB, Kairu said: “He has left a solid legacy for the Group across Africa and beyond that is dotted by transformation of millions of lives.

“The Board appreciates Joshua’s immense contributions and wishes him well in his future endeavours,” said Kairu.

When Oigara took over as KCB CEO on January 1, 2013, the bank had reported a net profit of Sh14.3 billion. He now leaves a firm that posted Sh34.2 billion in profit as of December 31, 2021.

It remains unclear why the 47-year-old is taking an early exit from the company, as his contract was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2022.

Russo, in a November 2020 interview with the Business Daily, said he was “one of the very few Rendiles in Kenya”.

“We (Rendile people) all know each other. The last census put us at 101,000. But we tend to be like Samburus.”

He said away from the banking halls, he keeps camels and goats.

Russo is an alumnus of Mang’u High School.

The new KCB boss said it took hard work and belief for him to rise up the ranks to occupy a senior office at one of Kenya’s most profitable banks.

“Everybody needs a chance. I am where I am because I was given a chance,” he said.

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