Equity has announced the appointment of a new Group’s Chief Operating Officer. Mr John Wilson, a Swedish national, has been the head of financial institutions in East and Southern Africa at the IFC. 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.
Mr Wilson has had a long and 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”.
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
Mr Wilson’s appointment is subject to approval by the Central Bank of Kenya.