KAMPALA – Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has lauded Mr. Kin Kariisa and Mrs. Gertrude N. Lutaaya, the outgoing Ecobank Uganda Limited Board Chairman and Non-executive director respectively.
Kariisa was in 2012 appointed Director of the Pan African Bank and in 2019 he became chairman board of directors whereas Mrs. Gertrude has been Chairperson of the Audit Committee and Member of board of Governance since 2012.
Speaking at their farewell dinner on Thursday at Sheraton Hotel Kampala, Tayebwa said Uganda needs more of this caliber of professionals to transform and improved corporate Governance in Ugandan businesses.
He described Kariisa as a generous and good-spirited man and someone who most people greatly admire and love.
Mr. Deputy Speaker said that Kariisa is a man whose name is almost synonymous with Ecobank because he was there from its infancy.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank Kin for his selfless contribution to Ecobank Uganda and the financial sector of Uganda as we briefly remember his contributions as has been articulated by the previous speakers.”
“As a country, Financial Inclusion is an agenda that we hope will see all Ugandans financially empowered to afford a better livelihood in health, education and reducing Uganda’s poverty line. We speak of youth employment, Ecobank through its digitization, bancassurance products and agency banking model, has seen an opened opportunity for new income streams for the youth across the country. Just like it is across the world, the pandemic’s effect was huge, the recovery from this will take a lot of effort from both the public and private sector to address. Allow me to thank Ecobank under Kin’s leadership for participating in the economic recovery fund, for managing the risk of transmission which has kept Uganda which is supporting the businessmen and women to revive the businesses as we revive the economy at large,” he added.
Tayebwa said that during his tenure, the businessman, media proprietor and philanthropist has contributed to the setting up of the governance structure of Ecobank in the country. “As a bank, this sets a secure foundation for compliance to governance processes.”
Tayebwa also revealed that the CEO of Next Media Services contributed to the roll out of the digitization strategy that registered Ecobank’s online customer growth in number to 223,000 Xpress accounts and this contributed to the Balance sheet growth in terms of customer deposits.
“As part of the Government’s initiatives for Financial Inclusion, Mr. Kariisa at the helm of the bank has rolled out Ecobank’s agency banking proposition – extending banking services to all corners of Uganda in bid to support governments strategy on Financial inclusion. Ecobank Uganda now through agency banking provides over 7,000 service points in all corridors – North, West, East, South and Central.”
Speaking about Mrs. Gertrude, Tayebwa said she is a passionate Fellow Member of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) and mother of many.
“….is known to me as one who fights for the integrity of Business impact. She is very keen on the accuracy of Business numbers whilst protecting the company’s profits and customers’ safety.”
In her part, Ms. Grace Muliisa, the Bank’s Managing Director said “Mr. Kariisa and Mrs. Lutaaya have been on the Bank’s Board for 9-10 years, they have therefore built the Bank that you see today.”
She said that Kariisa has been a hands-on Chairman who did not only effectively provide strategic direction for the Board and Management but was always available to guide and support me and the team.
“As you can imagine he is an extremely busy person with a multimedia company to run and other businesses, however because of his commitment and passion to drive the bank, there is no single moment that we have needed him and he was not available. He is the kind of Chairman we knew we could invariably turn to for advice and support at critical periods of stress and trial and he never let us down,” she said.
Muliisa added that as the Chair of the Governance and Risk committees in his early years at the Bank, Kariisa spearheaded the process of establishing a policy-based governance system, thereby building and instilling a strong and unique risk culture, albeit balanced. “This has secured such a strong foundation for the bank.”
“Drawing from his strength and experience as a businessman and his appreciation for people in any form of success, he has been actively involved in attracting and retaining talent for the bank. His impact is essentially manifest in the spirit of Eco bankers who have worked with him over the years. Our greatest tribute to you will be to continue to drive the disciplines such as innovation, digitization and customer experience that are so close to your heart and to transform and shift the bank in line with the customer trends.”
Muliisa revealed that under Kariisa’s leadership and passion for technological advancement, the board made huge investments in Digital Transformation and this has started to pay off.
“Ecobank Online, Mobile Application (the leading Application in the market) with a banking assistant – Rafiki for Individual Customers and Omni – Plus and Lite for Corporates and SMEs are leading customer platforms and continue to provide the convenience and affordability for customers. There is no doubt that the bank has grown both in the customer base and balance sheet.”
On Mrs. Gertrude, the MD said she has during her tenure, secured the foundation of the Bank.
“You have been the pillar and now the spring board against which we stand firm to bounce off to the next level.”
She said Gertrude is a woman of virtue, deeply knowledgeable as a fellow in ACCA.
“She is extremely professional with very high standards. In the last couple of months, I have learnt quite a lot from my conversations and interaction with you and if there is one lesson I have learnt is; the importance of clarity as a leader but more importantly that you must have standards and standards don’t meet you but you meet them; and that simply means that you should never lower or drop your standards.”
“Mrs. Lutaaya is a woman of integrity and one you can count on to hold your hand. Thank you so very much once again for the few conversations we have had and hopefully we will continue to have. For me and for the team and the bank, they are invaluable,” she added.
About Kin Kariisa
The Ugandan businessman, media proprietor and philanthropist was born on 24 August 1976.
Kariisa started out as a barber in Mbarara Town before joining Makerere University, where he later started developing web applications for a Danish company, Metrocomia Uganda Ltd. in 2000. He later quit Metrocomia to start his own company, Kin Systems, one of Uganda’s first ICT companies.
Courtesy of his success with Kin Systems, Kariisa was contacted by President Yoweri Museveni to build a campaign system that would automatically send messages to mobile phones. He was later appointed Assistant Presidential Advisor on Information Communications and Technology (ICT).
The CEO – Next Media Services also serves as Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and Online broadcasters in Uganda.
He is also the chairman board of directors for Nile Hotel International Ltd., the Government enterprise that owns Kampala Serena Hotel.
Kariisa also serves as the chairman board of directors for Soliton Telmec, the leading telecommunications technology company in East Africa, supporting both the basic and complex infrastructure required to enable electronic communications across the region, which include data centers, fiber optic lines and related routing and transmission equipment.
He also holds Harvard University’s Post Graduate course in Strategic Business Management.
About Mrs. Gertrude N. Lutaaya
She is a finance professional with more than 20 years working experience in the fields of financial management, administration and internal audit in senior management positions.
She has a strong track record in accounting, finance, system analysis and strategic management advisory in both the public and private sector which she has acquired from both her professional experience, educational background and professional trainings.
Gertrude is the Head of Internal Audit Department at Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA).
She is also a Board Member – Uganda Investment Authority
From November 2003 to November 2006, she served as Financial Management Specialist at Netherlands Development organisation SNV
She holds Makerere University’s Master of Business Administration, Accounting and Finance.