State Bank Undergoes Major Reshuffle


Six of CBE's eight executives left in less than half a year




Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which has been undergoing massive reshuffles, appointed four new vice presidents to fill executive positions left open after recent reassignments and departures.

Muluneh Aboye, Emebet Melese, Ephraim Mekuria and Dereje Etecha were appointed as vice presidents of credit management, credit underwriting, internal services and banking services, respectively.

While Muluneh and Dereje came from Awash Bank, Emebet and Ephraim served as directors of credit management and communication at the state bank. Muluneh replaced Asaminew Derbew, while Dereje assumed the position formerly held by the current acting Chief Business Officer, Fikresilassie Zewdu.

Fikresilassie’s position was held by Mulugeta Alemayehu, who served for over half a decade before leaving to assume the presidency of Bunna Bank.

Emebet, who replaced Wondale Belachew, was in the lead to head the Bank’s new mortgage scheme for the diaspora last August. She is a PhD candidate with over a decade and a half experience in the industry.

“She is capable and dedicated,” said a source who has over a decade of experience at the company.

Wondale, who is now on leave, served as vice president of credit underwriting for over half a decade. Vice president of credit management, Asamnew, is also on leave.

With the new structure, the Bank now has eight chief officers and 11 vice presidents.

In the last five months, the Bank underwent a major reshuffle where six of its eight executive officers left. Sources close to the Bank disclose that they left following disagreements with the new management system that is underway and directed by the new president, Bacha Gina. The long-serving secretary to the president, Abeba Asgedoum, has been on leave for weeks.

“Some of the executives are currently on leave,” said one senior management member. “But based on the recent trends, no one will probably be returning.”

The longest-serving executive still at the Bank, Melika Bedri, has continued serving as chief of finance.

The new president has also started assigning new management members at director levels. In a recent move, the company brought new faces to the Bank, including for the positions of credit work out and credit management.

“For a company with such a vast employee base, bringing officials from the outside for directorships is not logical,” argued one insider, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Since the arrival of President Bacha, who had served as vice president and assistant vice president of the Cooperative Bank of Oromia and Awash International Bank, six of the Bank’s senior management members have left.

The executive management members who left the company include Abay Mehari, who was chief credit officer; and Atakelti K. Mariam, chief operations officer. Their positions have not yet been filled.

“I departed from the company on my own,” said Abay.  “I’m taking my time to think of what to do next and take some rest.”

Abay had worked at the state giant for close to three decades, with the last 10 years as chief of credit management. He sees growth and the financing of grand projects as the milestones of his career at the Bank.

“The Bank had about 65 billion Br in assets when I came to the management position,” Abay told Fortune. “But now the Bank has a massive asset and capital base.”

For the last fiscal year, the Bank reported 565.5 billion Br in assets and over half a trillion Birr in deposits. The 76-year-old Bank now has 1,280 branches, 34,879 employees and over 18 million customers.

Bacha, within two months of his appointment, also appointed Surra Saketa, Ali Ahmed and Kidane Mengesha as chief officers for legal services, human resources and audit, respectively.

The Bank also announced the resignation of the internal service vice president, Meseret Asfaw, two weeks ago and appointed Ephraim, who was communications director, as her replacement.

The new appointments at the executive management level require the approval of the National Bank of Ethiopia.

Before departing from the bank Samuel Tadesse, Seifu Bogale and Solomon Alula were in the helm of these positions, in order.

The last time a major reshuffle occurred was in the early 2000s, after senior management, including veteran banker Tilahun Abay, were charged with alleged corruption.

Half of the recent executives came to their positions when Beqalu Zeleke came to the presidency of the Bank in 2006. Beqalu, who recently resigned from his post as a vice governor of the central bank, started his leadership of CBE after replacing President Abie Sano.

Belihu Takele, communications director of the bank, did not respond to email inquiries from Fortune before the paper went to print.



By BEHAILU AYELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Dec 08,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 971]


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