James Mwangi is an accountant, banker, businessman and entrepreneur in Kenya. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Equity Group, the bank with the largest customer base in Africa.
The dream maker who steered Equity Bank from an insolvent business to becoming the region's most profitable bank.
James Mwangi is the current CEO of Equity Group,the bank with the largest customer base in Africa.
The 55-year old has been a key driver behind Equity’ssteady growth in the past 10 years to become the second largest lender in Kenya by profitability and asset size.
He also serves as the Chairman of Kenya Vision 2030.
Background and education
James Mwangi was born in Kangema, Murang’a County in 1962. He attended Nyagatugu Primary School before pursuing his O-Level studies at Ichagaki Secondary School.
For his A-Level education, he went to Kagumo High School, where he studied economics, English literature and geography.
Mwangi then studied at the University of Nairobi where he graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Commerce (BCom).
He also sat and passed the Certified Public Accountant of Kenya (CPA) examinations.
In 1993, James Mwangi was assigned with the duty of winding up the business by the Equity Building Society chairman, Peter Munga, and the CEO, John Mwangi. The insolvent organization was losing KSh5 million, annually and had at that time, accumulated overall losses of KSh33 million.
Mr.Mwangi,who was then Strategy and Finance Director, resorted to retraining the society’s 27 employees to offer improved customer care to the 27, 000 customers they had at that time. He encouraged his staff to use their own networks – as he did his – to persuade people to join the society.
His efforts slowly but eventually brought about change to an enterprise that had been ranked at number 66 out of 66 in the financial sector rankings. Besides changing the attitude of the staff, Mwangi also advised them to use 25% of their salaries to buy shares in the company.
By 1997, the society was on the verge of expanding with customers being able to buy shares and annual dividends being paid. Three years later, Equity’s operations were fully computerized. On 31 August 2004, Equity Building Society became Equity Bank of Kenya.
In 2006, Equity Bank listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE). On Thursday 18 June 2009, the Group's stock cross listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange and started trading that day, under EBL. As of October 2014, the bank group has subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan.
Equity Group Holdings Limited was as at 2014, a large financial services organization in East Africa, with an asset base valued at over Sh295 billion, with a total customer base in excess of 8.7 million.
Mr. Mwangi and his wife Jane co-own 6.5 per cent stake in the bank which as at 2014 was worth Sh12.15 billion, making it one of the largest family fortunes held in a single stock.
The couple’s Sh12.15 billion stake in Equity is only comparable to businessman Chris Kirubi’s Sh12 billion fortune in investment firm Centum.
They also own shares worth over Sh3 billion in Britam, pushing the value of their known NSE portfolio above Sh15 billion.
Honors and awards
Personal lifeJames Mwangi is married to Jane Wangui Njuguna with four children.
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