The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) is preparing for a change in leadership as Habil Olaka, the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is set to retire at the end of March.

In anticipation of this transition, the association has announced the appointment of Raimond Molenje as the acting CEO, effective April 1st.

John Gachora, the Chairman of KBA, expressed confidence in Molenje's abilities to navigate the association through this transition period.

Gachora stated, "To steer the Association in the transition period, the Governing Council has appointed Director, Legal, Human Resources and Policy Advocacy, Mr Raimond Molenje, in an acting capacity effective 1st April 2024 before the appointment of a substantive Chief Executive Officer."

Molenje, who has been with KBA since 2018, brings a wealth of experience to his new role, boasting 19 years of expertise in legal and regulatory practice, human capital, and policy advocacy.

His decade-long tenure in senior management roles within leading business member organizations underscores his capability to lead effectively in this interim capacity.

Throughout Olaka's tenure, he has spearheaded numerous pioneering initiatives that have significantly impacted the banking industry.

Under his leadership, the association reinforced its position as a reputable and responsive industry leader, championing sustainable development and inclusive socio-economic growth through collaborative efforts with governmental bodies, regulatory authorities, and partners across various sectors of the economy.

One of Olaka's noteworthy accomplishments includes the introduction of the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) in 2015.

This initiative aimed to support member banks in creating long-term value for the economy, society, and the environment, ultimately leading to the issuance of the first Green Bond in Kenya and the wider East African region in 2019.

Moreover, Olaka's innovative thinking was instrumental during the Covid-19 pandemic, where he conceptualized PesaLink, a real-time payment services solution for the banking industry, facilitating smoother financial transactions amidst challenging circumstances.

Additionally, significant strides were made during Olaka's tenure in enhancing banking infrastructure. "It was also during Dr Olaka's tenure that a robust Automated Clearing House and cheque processing system was established, reducing the cheque clearing time from four days to one day," Gachora highlighted.

As Olaka prepares to step down, his legacy of transformative leadership and strategic vision leaves an indelible mark on the banking sector in Kenya.

The appointment of Molenje as the acting CEO signals a new chapter for KBA, as it continues to uphold its commitment to driving innovation and sustainable growth within the banking industry.