Kimei told a media conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the search for his successor has already been initiated under a special committee instituted by the bank’s board of directors.
The exercise will take about a year to complete and the new MD will be employed four months before Kimei officially retires on May 31, 2019. He said this is to allow for a smooth transition and office handover.
According to Kimei, his successor will be a Tanzanian national recruited from either within the bank or outside, provided he or she is the best in the market.
He said the time has come for him to call it quits and “hand over the (CRDB) leadership mantle to another person.” But he pledged to forever remain a loyal shareholder and customer of the bank.
Kimei joined CRDB Bank as boss two years after its formation in 1996 in the wake of the privatization, recapitalization, and restructuring of the former Cooperative Rural Development Bank, which had been wholly government-owned.
At the time, the bank had posted a loss of 2 billion/- and its other financials were not very impressive. But by 2015, it was registering record profits of 187bn/- before taxation.
The bank’s net profit that year was 137bn/-, which slid to 108bn/- last year due to various economic and market factors that Kimei described as “transitional challenges.”
He said the assets base increased from 54bn/- in 1998 to 5.3 trillion/- in 2016, and has now reached 5.9trn/-. Deposits, which stood at 48bn/- when he joined the bank, are now about 4.3trn/-, he added.
At the same time, the bank’s branch network today comprises 262 outlets compared to only 19 about two decades ago.
Said Kimei, who is an economist by training: “I am optimistic our financials will be much better when we announce the bank’s performance for 2017. After a not very convincing 2016, we have worked hard to ensure we regain the profitability levels of 2015.”
There is a general consensus that under his leadership, CRDB Bank has emerged as a market leader and big employer in the country. With tax remittances amounting to 50bn/- in 2015 and other economic values, the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange-listed bank has become a strategic player in the national economy.
According to Dr Kimei, CRDB Bank is also the pioneer of many innovations that have made it the bank of choice for many people. It has even extended its outreach outside Tanzania following the opening of CRDB Bank Burundi Ltd in 2012.
The bank also now boasts of subsidiary businesses in CRDB Bank Microfinance Ltd and CRDB Bank Insurance Ltd.
Dr Kimei described his most important achievement at the bank as being the promotion of a strong corporate culture which has underlined its overall success during his tenure.