Top 25 Most Impactful Chairs of Boards Influencing Business in 2023

Since Kellen Kariuki's appointment in 2021, SCB has continued to grow and expand its business operations in leaps and bounds.


Kellen Eileen Kariuki, MBS


Current Chair of the Board of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Kenya, Ms Kellen Kariuki, describes herself as a resourceful, energetic and results-oriented professional on her LinkedIn profile. Having garnered over 30 years of extensive experience within the realms of finance, strategy, leadership, governance, banking, international management and analytical skills, Ms Kariuki has anchored herself as a thought leader on both a local and international scale, especially in the areas of environment, social and governance (ESG), sustainability and strategy.

Since Kellen’s appointment in 2021, SCB has continued to grow and expand its business operations in leaps and bounds, in addition to enhancing its top-of-mind awareness among discerning banking customers.

Under her belt, SCB reported a net profit increase of 34 percent to Ksh 12.1 billion, compared to KES 9 billion in the previous year, in its full-year 2022 financial results. Notwithstanding the obstacles mainly characterised by the inflation rates encountered in the market, SCB accomplished a significant expansion of its balance sheet and substantially increased returns to the shareholders.

The boost in net profit is mainly attributed to a rise in income of 16 percent, from Ksh 24.5 billion in 2021. Formidable wealth management momentum, higher transactional volumes, improved margins and enhanced underlying credit metrics (leading to reduced loan impairment charges) all contributed to the growth of income.

Kellen Kariuki (left) with DTB’s Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Nasim Devji (R) during the Catalyst
Awards 2017 by KBA.

Net customer loans and advances increased by 11 percent to Ksh 139 billion, illustrating the recovery of clients’ businesses. Furthermore, customer deposits grew by 5 percent, reaching Ksh 271.3 billion from Ksh 258.4 billion in 2021.

Due to SCB’s noteworthy performance, the board of directors, guided by Ms Kariuki, announced the payment of Ksh 22 per ordinary share for the year, an addition to the interim dividend of Ksh 6 paid earlier.

Looking to 2023, Ms Kariuki’s primary objective for the bank surrounds fiscal consolidation and revenue mobilisation, with sustained resilience remaining top-of-mind. The board of directors, along with the executive management, is cognizant of the withstanding challenges towards the recovery of the economy. However, it is confident that the bank will deliver on its overall business strategy, considering the commendable progress made thus far. Kellen is well positioned to continue driving growth and success at SCB in the years to come.

Towards the bank’s plans to continue the focus in sustainable finance and responsible banking practices, SCB has been at the forefront of promoting environmental and social sustainability in the banking industry, and Ms Kariuki is committed to furthering this agenda.

Kellen’s keen business acumen has landed her numerous board positions over the years. She served as Chair of the Board of Citibank Tanzania as well as that of Citibank Kenya Provident. Prior to her appointment as Chair of SCB, Ms Kariuki served as a Non-Executive Director on the bank’s Board. She was also a Board Director at Citibank Uganda, Cititrust Kenya, Resolution Health Insurance, the Kenya Roads Board, AMREF Health Africa and AMREF Flying Doctors.

Ms Kariuki is a founding member of the Board of Advisors of Strathmore Business School (SBS), is a Director at the Strathmore University Foundation, and has served as an elected council member of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK).

In December 2003, Kellen was awarded with the Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (MBS) by His Excellency (HE) the President of Kenya in recognition of her exemplary services rendered to the country.

Ms Kariuki holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Strategic Management both from the United States International University-Africa (USIU-A). She also holds a Master of Science (MSc) degree in International Human Resource (HR) Management from Cranfield University in the United Kingdom (UK). Kellen is a Fellow Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (FCPA) and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Business and Management at Strathmore University.

Kellen was the first Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) tasked with setting up the new Public Sector institution. She was responsible for receiving, safeguarding and reuniting unclaimed financial assets.

Ms Kariuki is Managing Director of Feruzi Holdings, a financial, agribusiness and real estate advisory company.


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Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Dr. Hanningtone Gaya

Kenya’s Dr Hanningtone Gaya, holds a PhD in Commerce in Business Management from Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is viewed as an authority in country branding and is the founder chairman of the Brand Kenya Board.

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