World Bank Expatriate to drive Equity Bank’s Pan African expansion
Equity taps World Bank Expatriate as it gears up for Pan African expansion and accelerated digitization
John Wilson takes up role of Group Chief Operating Officer
Nairobi 2nd September 2019………Equity has attracted and named the head of financial institutions in East and Southern Africa at the IFC as the Group’s Chief Operating Officer. 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.
John Wilson, a Swedish national, has had a long and highly 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”.
The recruitment reflects the Group’s focus to strengthening its depth of capacity and capability as it continues to grow and evolve to a global financial institution. 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
His appointment in the new role is subject to approval by the Central Bank of Kenya.
Equity Bank is currently the largest bank in Eastern and Central Africa region with over 14 Million customers, the largest in market capitalization and the second largest in balance sheet. It is listed at the Nairobi securities exchange and cross listed in Uganda Stock Exchange and Rwanda Stock Exchange. It has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC.
The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2019 ranked Equity as the 16th Best Bank in the world on return on assets, 32nd Best Bank in return on capital, 75th best on soundness measured on capital asset ratio, 844th largest bank in the world and the fastest growing large bank in Africa.
In Kenya, the bank emerged the Overall Best Bank in the 2019 Think Business Banking Awards for the 8th year in a row. It was also ranked as the Best Tier 1 Bank, Best Bank in SME Banking, Best in Agency Banking, Best Bank in Digital Marketing, Best Bank in Internet Banking, Best Bank in Mobile Banking, Best Commercial bank Microfinance, Best Microfinance Bank in Agriculture & Livestock Financing, Best Bank in Product Marketing, Best Bank in Corporate Social Responsibility, and runners up best bank in asset finance, Retail Banking, Mortgage finance, and customer satisfaction.
Euromoney 2019 awarded Equity Bank the Africa’s Best Digital Bank, 2019 while African Banker Awards 2019 recognized Equity bank as the Most Socially Responsible Bank in Africa, 2019.
Global Credit Agency (GCR), maintained the credit rating of the Bank at AA- (long-term and A1+ (short-term) and rating outlook of Stable in 2018 while Moody’s has maintained Equity’s National rating of Aa3.ke/ KE-1 similar to the sovereign rating, with a global rating of B2. The agency has given a stable outlook to Equity Bank.
The private sector arm of the World Bank Group, with about USD 90 billion in assets
January 2007 – August 2008
January 1997 – December 2006
Kaupthing Bank, Stockholm
An Icelandic banking group operating across northern Europe.
2007-2008 Managing Director, Head of Investment Banking Sweden
Responsible for Corporate Finance M&A advisory, Acquisition Finance, Corporate Banking, and proprietary private equity. Managed three separate teams of in total 25 professionals. Resigned in May 2008 over disagreement with the Global Head of Investment Banking about strategic outlook and directions.
Board member Kaupthing Leasing and Dentocare, a client and investee company
2007 Senior Vice President, Head of Corporate Banking and Acquisition Finance, SwedenResponsible for Corporate Banking and Acquisition Finance, managing 10 professionals.
A Swedish banking group operating across the Nordic countries, the Baltic states, Russia and Ukraine.
August 1993 – December 1996
IBRD (International Bank of Reconstruction and Development), Washington, DC The public sector arm of the World Bank Group
1996 Investment Officer, IFC Capital Markets Development unit
Seconded to the newly established IFC Capital Market unit focused on Turkey, Egypt and Ghana. Resigned to accept an offer from Swedbank.
1993-1996 Private Sector Development Specialists, IBRD PSD unit
Responsible for IBRD’s privatization programs in Ghana, Cameroon and Malawi, while also working on large scale privatizations in Russia and post privatization advisory in Ukraine.
Manager, Financial Institutions Group, East & Southern Africa
Responsible for new investments in financial institutions (banks, microfinance institutions, insurance companies, other non-bank financial actors) in 21 countries from Somalia via DRC to South Africa. Managing 20 professionals based in Nairobi and Johannesburg. Member of the Middle East & Africa, FIG MEA, and FIG Global management teams.
Global Head of Banking and Chief Banking Specialist, FIG
Responsible for the global banking industry specialist team, with 12 Banking Specialists
based in Bangkok, Hanoi, Istanbul, Nairobi and Washington DC. In addition to supporting onsite investment appraisals and decision making, responsible for banking knowledge management across the corporation, and for providing banking risk advisory support to IFC clients. Member of the FIG Global management team
IFC nominee director and member of the investment committee, Commercial Bank of Ceylon.
Principal Banking Specialist, FIG
Responsible for supporting onsite investment appraisals and decision making, mainly focused on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Head of Investor Relations and Head of Corporate Strategy
Responsible for Investor Relations, both debt and equity, and for rebuilding the IR team while also being Head of Strategy. Resigned to accept an offer from Kaupthing Bank.
Head of Corporate Strategy
Responsible for developing and executing the Group expansion strategy, including acquiring and integrating target banks in the region as well as divesting non-core assets
Head of Equity Capital Markets, Investment and Corporate Banking
Responsible for building an ECM business in the Nordic countries
Head of Structured Finance, CIB
Responsible for global trade, export and project finance as well as correspondance banking, managing a team of 40 professionals.
Head of Export and Project Finance, CIB
Responsible for building up a global export and project finance business.