HomeBusiness DigestAllied boss steps down

Allied boss steps down

Allied Bank CEO Stephen Gwasira and the institution’s head of retail banking Herbert Ncube have stepped down from their positions a month after a consortium of former Wall Street bankers took over the bank, businessdigest has established.

Chris Muronzi

Sources said the duo stepped down on March 31.

Gwasira and Ncube are believed to have been pushed out as part of the shareholders’ plans to strengthen the bank’s management.

An internal memo seen by businessdigest to all staff dated April 1 reads: “This serves to advise that the bank’s chief executive officer, Stephen Gwasira and the head of retail banking, Herbert Paul Ncube retired from their positions effective March 31 2014.”
Gwasira and Ncube had been with the bank since its inception in 2005.

Florence Gowora has been appointed acting CEO of the bank.
Gowora, who was business director for the bank, has a wealth of banking experience spanning more than two decades.

She started her career at Standard chartered bank and rose to become a customer accounts supervisor, direct sales executive consumer banking division, branch manager, regional manager and value centre general manager.

She holds a masters degree in strategic management.

Informed sources said Gwasira and Ncube’s departure could mirror shareholder changes at holding level that saw a Mauritian-based consortium headed by former Wall Street bankers take over the financial institution led by Terence Mukupe, who is now Allied Financial Holdings’ CEO. The changes at bank level, sources say, are a reflection of a shift in strategic focus.

The sources said Allied Bank wants to tap into structured and trade finance, an area Stanbic Bank has excelled in.

Allied Fund, a Mauritian-based fund, will control Allied Financial Holdings while the owners of the bank will immediately unlock US$30 million in capital.

This will lift the bank’s capital base to between US$25 million and US$30 million.

In January, the central bank revised minimum statutory capital requirements from US$100 million by June this year to US$25 million for commercial banks, a relief to struggling institutions.

Some indigenous banks failed to comply with the phased recapitalisation plan. However, banks are now expected to have capital of US$100 million by 2020.

Mukupe has a wealth of experience in banking spanning various markets from Wall Street to Moscow.

He worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland in New York; Knox Lawrence, a private equity firm; and Renaissance Capital Zimbabwe, a local division of the leading Russian investment banking firm that operates in high-opportunity emerging markets as chief executive officer.

Allied Financial Holdings is going to be acquired wholly by a listed fund in Mauritius which in turn will raise capital for Allied Bank.

Debbie Peters, a seasoned Wall Street banker, is understood to be part of the Mauritian-based fund.

Peters has experience in capital raising, private equity, fund management and investments in New York, Johannesburg and Lagos markets.

Under the new structure, Transport minister Obert Mpofu is set to have his equity significantly diluted to 25% post the transaction.

According to sources, the bank will pursue a phased recapitalisation plan, having already mobilised US$30 million.

The acquisition by Allied Fund means Mpofu, specified under United States sanctions, will now sleep much better as this takes off pressure on him from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) of the US Department of the Treasury as owner of the institution.

Ofac has been giving institutions and individuals connected to Zanu PF sleepless nights through its tight financial sanctions on them.

Mpofu is, however, said to be eventually considering exiting the bank when Allied Fund lists in Mauritius in the next couple of months to raise additional funding from investors.

Mukupe and Peters’ backgrounds are expected to play a pivotal role in raising capital for the bank and the pursuit of opportunities in various sub-sectors in the financial services

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