KENYA – Equity Bank has named former manager at the World Bank’s private sector financing arm IFC, John Wilson as new operations chief for the bank’s East and Southern Africa market.

The announcement was done on the 3rd of September and followed the institution’s plans to accelerate the digitization of products and services.

The Swede national replaces Bhartesh Shah who transitions to the Group’s director for Digitisation, Virtualisation, Analytics and Artificial Intelligence risk management arm.

John will supplement the execution of strategy and operation oversight of the entire business, including the subsidiaries.

The Group’s Executive Director Mary Wamae, on the other hand, will focus on leadership and governance of the various business lines.

Bhartesh will oversee the comprehensive Group enterprise risk management. His appointment in the new role is subject to approval by the Central Bank of Kenya.

John Wilson holds experience in banking and finance, having spent 14 years at the World Bank.

Speaking while making the announcement, James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO Equity Group Holdings Plc said, “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 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,” concluded the CEO.

His appointment falls in line with the bank’s recent quest on regional expansion, having most recently expressed its intention to acquire for banking subsidiaries in Southern Africa from the London Securities Exchange (LSE) listed Atlas Mara in a Ksh10 billion deal.

The new COO has an outstanding and long career in banking and finance, having spent a decade and a half at the World Bank.

Wilson was previously working as the head of financial institutions in East and Southern Africa at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private sector of the World Bank Group and the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, a public sector arm of the same financial institution.