Sunday, December 4, 2022

Biography and Career profile of KCB CEO Paul Russo.

Paul Russo has been appointed as the new CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank, the largest bank in East Africa, taking the reins from Joshua Oigara. He is a Human Resource management professional, businessman and corporate executive. He has earned his appointment at 46 years old.

Educational Background.

Paul Russo was born in 1976 in Laisamis division in Marsabit County. Paul Russo went for his primary education at a local school in his home village, Laisamis. After completing his primary education, Paul Russo transitioned to Mang’u High School for his secondary education. His father struggled to settle his fees at the school and thereby resorted to selling his flock. Russo’s late older brother also gave up his education to support his brother’s studies at the school.

Paul Russo from a young age has been a dreamer and has always believed that consistent hard work was the key to success. He always wanted to work at KCB Marsabit. Russo once found himself seeking help at Food for the Hungry International at Westlands, a Catholic Church program and this is how he was able to gunner financial aid after narrating his tribulations to the Catholic Church.

Paul Russo graduated from Mang’u High School and later joined the Moi University in Eldoret for a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and completed the course and was awarded his degree in Business Management. Later on, Paul Russo studied for a Master in Business Administration (MBA) at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya. His other educational accolades include holding a senior executive certification for Africa from the Harvard Business School and a Higher Diploma in Human Resource Management from the Kenya Institute of Human Resources.

Professional Career

He started his professional career in 2000 working in the Human Resource department of Kenya Breweries as the Acting Compensation and Benefits Manager. He later worked at Barclays Bank of Kenya (present-day Absa Bank Kenya), Barclays bank Tanzania and Barclays Africa all as a regional HR head. He has also worked at K-Rep Bank (present-day Sidian Bank) as Chief HR officer and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC Kenya) as head of Human Capital. Mr. Russo is an achieved Human Resource expert hence why KCB opted for him.

Paul Russo has been working at KCB Bank since 2014 as KCB Group’s Head of Human Resources. Furthermore, since the NBK became a subsidiary of the KCB Group in 2019, he was the managing director at NBK among eight other subsidiaries. He has a lot of experience working with KCB. him.

Personal Life

Paul Russo is a father of 4 children, 3 girls and a boy. He is from the Rendile Community and their culture involves keeping camels and goats. His work ethic is highly motivated by the camels, as he says. Mr. Russo says that camels are persistent, hardy and willing to go an extra mile even without taking water for several days. He also refers to how camels promote sharing since milk is shared evenly among strangers.

“Resilience is critical in the corporate world. You can miss your target for the month but you don’t give up,” he says.

Paul Russo is married and his wife is a Marsabit Native who was educated by Catholic sisters.

How Russo predicted he would be the next CEO.

Believe! It all comes down to believing in oneself. In an interview, Paul Russo said that the next group of CEOs would come from HR directors and surprisingly enough he became one for the largest bank in Kenya and all of East Africa.

“Personally, I believe that the next cadre of CEOs will be HR directors. The future of leadership is about people. When you think of Chase’s (Chase Bank) reopening, it was mainly a behavioral science thing. It’s about customers and staff; it’s about leading in turbulent times.

I had to decode the behavior of people and lead staff during tough times. I asked myself. What would a typical Kenyan want to see on April 27th? (When the CBK was set to shutdown chase bank). They (Kenyans) wanted to see their balances and how much they could withdraw.”

At that time, almost 50,000 depositors had trouble withdrawing almost Ksh. 100 Billion from the bank. Paul Russo was appointed receiver-manager in April 2016 and four months later he was able to save the bank from being shut down completely by the CBK. A heroic feat indeed.

Paul Russo takes over the management from Joshua Oigara, who has left big shoes to fill at the bank.

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