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State House ex-honcho Joseph Kinyua takes over as KCB Group chairman



State House ex-honcho Joseph Kinyua takes over as KCB Group chairman

Former Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua, has been elected the new chairman of KCB Group PLC effective May 26, 2023.

Mr Kinyua takes over from Andrew Wambari who has retired having served as chairman for five years.

The career public servant joined the group’s board as a director in March this year.

He was elected chairman by shareholders during the 52nd Annual General Meeting which took place on May 25.

Mr Kinyua takes over at a time the group has consummated acquisitions in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda as it looks to cement its regional footprint.

“I leave behind a strong, diverse and competent board that will continue to drive the business to achieve and sustain its strategic objectives and a seamless transition to ensure continuity”, immediate former Chairman, Andrew Wambari, said on his exit.

Mr Kinyua’s election is the latest in a series of changes in the group’s top leadership with Paul Russo having been appointed Group Chief Executive Officer in May 2022.

The group also appointed George Odhiambo to head the National Bank subsidiary in February 2023 whilst the decoupling of the Kenya subsidiary leadership role from the group level in April 2023 saw Annastacia Kimtai KCB Bank Kenya Managing Director.

As it were, Mr Kinyua is headed to the board of KCB — the region’s largest bank by asset size — where the government could still find his famed Midas touch useful.

The Treasury owns a 19.76 percent stake in the bank, which when combined with National Social Security Fund’s (NSSF) shareholding increases the government’s ownership to 28.15 percent.

Reports in April showed the Treasury triggered the ouster of two directors at KCB Group and the elevation of Mr Kinyua in a boardroom shake-up aimed at asserting the influence of the President William Ruto administration.

A career civil servant, Mr Kinyua has spent his working life in public service save for a short stint at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, USA.

After a stint as an assistant lecturer at the University of Nairobi in 1978, he joined the Central Bank of Kenya as a chief economist two years later.

He would rise through the ranks to serve as a permanent secretary in the ministries of Finance, National Planning and Agriculture, a chief of staff in the Uhuru Kenyatta State House and the Head of Public Service.

During his four decades in public service, he served four administrations.

Mr Kinyua, 70, is eligible to serve KCB for up to eight years, going by the group’s board charter which allows non-executive directors to hold office for a cumulative term not exceeding eight years.

Mr Kinyua brings to the KCB board, years of experience and contacts with key people, locally and internationally. He also has institutional memory, a sharp antenna for economic issues, and experience dealing with and engaging assertive shareholders.

Mr Kinyua has an intimate understanding of the budget process and has spearheaded the transition to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework budgeting system.

He understands monetary policy and the inner workings of the Central Bank of Kenya where he served for many years as Director of Research.

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