Abay Bank Loses President, Sector left with no Female Leader

The founding member of Abay will be replaced by a former vice president of CBE.

Mesenbet Shenkute
Mesenbet Shenkute (credit: Addis Fortune)

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Mesenbet Shenkute, who left a vice-presidential position at the state-owned Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE), to become co-founder and President of Abay Bank, has left her position, effective August 17, 2015.

She is being replaced by Yehuala Gessesse, who is also leaving a vice presidential position at another state bank, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, where he had been in charge of credit appraisal and portfolio management.

Mesenbet had been Abay’s president since its establishment in 2010/11, when it started with paid up capital of 125,800, subscribed capital of 174,500 and 823 shareholders. Since then its paid up capital has reached 562.4 million Br and its subscribed capital 594,700. It now has 3,116 shareholders and 91 branches, with e-banking services in the pipeline.

The bank has deployed Oracle’s Flexcube CORE banking solution, starting e-banking services such as internet banking and mobile banking over the past five years.

Abay Bank is among the lately established banks with aggressive expansion and robust profitability. In its first year of operation it obtained a net profit of 24.2 million Br. Three years after establishment, in 2013/2014, its profit after tax increased to 38.04 million Br with 14.3 Br earnings per share while the industry profit went down by 2.4pc. In the same year, the number of its shareholders reached 1,525 from 1,189 in 2011/12, and paid up capital increased by 21pc to 288.51 million Br.

“After all the success I brought to the bank, working under a tight and demanding managerial responsibility, I wanted to give time for myself and reboot through  reading and reflecting,” Mesenbet explained as her reason for leaving.

Although she likes the financial sector, she said, she has so far not made any decisions what to do next other than relaxing, she said.

She says she has been using “emotional intelligence” to motivate her staff of new graduates, creating a distinct working culture.

She was the second woman, after Zemen Bank’s Brutawit Dawit, to become president of a bank. Enat Bank, too, had, for a while a female president – Fasika Kebede. With Mesenbet’s departure now goes the last female president in the sector.

Mesenbet earned a BA degree in Management from Addis Abeba University in 1987 and an MBA from the UK.

She worked with the DBE for 20 years in administration and corporate planning departments, eventually becoming Vice President for Credit Support. She left the DBE in 2009, when she became one of the founders of Abay Bank. The bank got a licence from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) in July 2010.

Mesenbet is a Board member of the Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations (AACCSA), Abay Insurance S.C. and the Ethiopian Space Science Society.

Yehuala Gessese will remain as Acting President, while waiting for the central bank’s approval.

Yehula worked at Commercial Bank for 16 years. He obtained his first degree in Management and Business Administration from Addis Abeba University and in 2011, obtained his second degree, in International Business, from University of Greenwich, London.