Top 60 Most Transformative CEOs Impacting The Economy

Before assuming his current role, Abdi held the position of MD at Absa Bank Tanzania, equipping him with the expertise to navigate multifaceted operations across varying geographies within Africa.

#21

ABDI MOHAMED

MD & CEO, ABSA BANK KENYA PLC

Abdi Mohamed serves as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Absa Bank Kenya, a position he assumed in May 2023.

With an illustrious career encompassing nearly 30 years in the financial sector, Abdi is a seasoned Kenyan professional. His journey has seen him assume diverse executive positions within the Absa Group, underscoring his profound familiarity with the brand and its operations. His appointment at the helm of Absa Bank Kenya has been a welcome return of a familiar face.

Hailing from Garissa, Abdi’s educational journey commenced with his pre-university years in his hometown before his enrollment at Kenyatta University (KU). He pursued and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) degree (honours) with a specialisation in Business Administration. Abdi later expanded his horizons by obtaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in International Business from Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia. In recent years, he further enriched his knowledge and skills, completing the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Absa Bank Kenya PLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Abdi Mohamed (R) receives the
symbols of leadership transfer from outgoing interim MD & CEO Yusuf Omari during an event
that officially marked the commencement of Abdi’s reign at the Bank on May 1, 2023.

Before assuming his current role, Abdi held the position of MD at Absa Bank Tanzania, equipping him with the expertise to navigate multifaceted operations across varying geographies within Africa. Additionally, he showcased his versatility as acting Managing Executive for Retail and Business Banking, overseeing Africa Regional Operations for Absa.

As former Chief Operating Officer (COO) for the bank in Kenya, Abdi honed his skills in orchestrating seamless operational efficiency. His responsibilities expanded to embrace regional dimensions as he undertook the mantle of Retail and Business Banking Director in both Kenya and Zambia, fostering an adept grasp of diverse markets.

Abdi’s path of excellence has not been confined to the African continent alone, as evidenced by his role as Operations Efficiency Manager at Barclays Global Retail and Commercial Banking in London, UK.

Each step of Abdi’s career journey has been a building block, enabling him to refine and harness distinct skills necessary for a true leader. According to him, having an insider’s perspective has allowed him to gain insights into both local dynamics and internal operations within the bank, while simultaneously benefiting from an external viewpoint.

 This dual vantage point enables him to critically evaluate situations from an external standpoint, while also maintaining a broader perspective. Working in different geographical contexts has proven to be a rich learning experience, affording him exposure to diverse products and solutions that have been successful in other regions.

In a recent interview, Abdi discussed mentorship and cultivating future leaders. He highlighted his journey’s reliance on mentors and leaders within Absa who believed in him and provided growth opportunities, even when he wasn’t fully prepared.

Abdi also touched on his commitment to being a mentor himself, a role he takes pride in. He recounted specific instances, such as his role in hiring the current CEO of Absa Tanzania, who eventually succeeded him, and the elevation of two team members to managing director positions in Zambia. This robust exchange of mentorship and leadership serves as a source of his personal fulfilment and professional development.

Having enriched his skillset in areas including management, transformation, and fostering a positive organisational culture, Abdi affirms his stature as a dynamic and accomplished leader within the banking industry.

Absa Bank Kenya, previously known as Barclays Bank Kenya, operates as a commercial bank within Kenya and functions as a subsidiary of Absa Group, headquartered in South Africa.

Absa Bank Kenya Managing Director, Abdi Mohamed, hands over a trophy to the Garissa County Governor Nathif Jama
Adam when he paid him a courtesy call at his county office.

Licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), it has a rich history dating back to 1916. when it began as a branch of the National Bank of South Africa, later merging with the Anglo-Egyptian Bank and the Colonial Bank in 1925 to form Barclays Bank, thus encompassing its Kenyan operations.

The bank obtained its current licence in 1953 and was locally incorporated as Barclays Bank of Kenya in 1978 under full ownership of Barclays Bank International. Notably, it made its debut on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) in 1986.

Until 2013, the bank operated as a subsidiary of Barclays Bank, an international financial services conglomerate listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). However, the adoption of a consolidated strategy in 2013 led to the integration of Barclays’ African units, excluding Egypt and Zimbabwe, under Absa Group, forming the Barclays Africa Group. This reconfiguration led to the establishment of Absa Bank Kenya’s ownership by Barclays Africa Group, which holds 68.5 percent of its shares, and is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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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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