EXCLUSIVE: Standard Chartered Bank’s Herman Kasekende highly likely to join Centenary Bank as its new Executive Director

Herman Kasekende wield over 20 years in banking, almost if not all of them within the Standard Chartered Banking Group. If at all he joins Centenary Bank, he will also be bringing with him some over 15 years of consumer banking knowledge in Uganda.

Herman Kasekende, a Ugandan, currently, the Managing Director of Standard Chartered Bank Zambia is highly likely to join Centenary Bank as its next Executive Director, impeccable sources, knowledgeable about the matter have told CEO East Africa Magazine.

According to reliable sources at Bank of Uganda and within Standard Chartered Bank, the veteran Banker, will however have to win the approval of Bank of Uganda, as required by the Financial Institutions Act.

When CEO East Africa asked Fabian Kasi, the Managing Director Centenary Bank, about this development- he neither denied nor confirmed the development, but simply told us, “no approvals yet.”

The Executive Director role at Centenary Bank fell vacant in February 2020 at the demise of Dr. Simon Kagugube, who occupied the office since 2003.  

Centenary Bank, through PricewaterhouseCoopers, advertised for the position in May 2020. Amongst the requirements for the job was a master’s degree in a business-related field or a Professional Qualification in Banking, Finance or Marketing. The job also required at least twenty (20) years working experience of which fifteen (15) years must be in a banking or financial services sector, and with not less than five (5) years relevant senior managerial and executive experience in a reputable company or organisation.

Herman Kasekende meets all these qualifications.

Standing tall, Centenary Bank’s headquarters- Mapeera House in the Central Business District. The bank metamorphosed from a rural microfinance in 1983 to become a commercial bank in 1993 and has since fast-risen to become Uganda’s second-largest bank by assets, deposits, lending and profits.

He was the head of Consumer Banking at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda for 13 years, from 1998 to 2011. In August 2012 he was elevated to become the bank’s Managing Director for 4 years and 7 months, before being transferred to Zambia in March 2017 in the same capacity. He is currently serving his second 2-year contract that is reportedly due to expire in March 2021.

Kasekende, who this March was elected Chairperson of the Bankers Association of Zambia, among other qualifications, also holds a Master of Arts (MA) in International Economics and Finance from the Brandeis University, Lemberg – International Business School in the United States of America.

A Kasi-Kasekende force?

Centenary Bank is Uganda’s second-largest bank by assets, deposits and lending. As at the end of 2019. the bank had UGX3.6 trillion in assets (11% market share); UGX2.5 trillion in deposits (11% market share) and

The bank was also the second most profitable, with UGX156 billion in profits after tax.

This July, the bank announced that it had completed a corporate reorganisation that saw the establishment of Cente Group on 25 October 2019 and the formation, on 6th November 2019 of a banking subsidiary named Centenary Rural Development Bank Limited.

On 16 March 2020, Bank of Uganda approved the issue of a commercial banking licence to the Cente Group banking subsidiary with effect from 1 July 2020, the same date on which Cente Group would relinquish its banking business to the banking subsidiary.

“The day-to-day banking operations will continue as normal under the subsidiary Bank. The reorganisation will have no impact on employees, customers, and clients, and the same level of service that has been offered in the past will continue under the Bank,” Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu, the Group Chairman said in the announcement.

It is not clear if the hiring of Kasekende from within the Standard Chartered Group is to strengthen Centenary Bank’s ambitions, but certainly the combination of Fabian Kasi and Herman Kasekende, combine with the bank’s financial muscle, would be a force to reckon with.

The creation of a group structure is a landmark achievement for Cente Group and its shareholders and offers a route through which Cente Group can expand to other activities, which will operate alongside the banking business. The Directors of both Cente Group and the Bank expect that the reorganisation will benefit the shareholders in the form of enhanced returns as well as provide customers and the general public a broader spectrum of financial services through an expanded portfolio. Crucially, the reorganisation will allow Cente Group to optimally achieve its social mission, attain operational efficiencies and enjoy the benefits of diversification,” he further said.

About the Author

Muhereza Kyamutetera is the Executive Editor of CEO East Africa Magazine; strategic communications consultant, social-economic analyst and travel enthusiast based in Kampala.