Financial Insight has enjoyed great relationships with a number of Zambia’s elite company’s CEOs. It is through those interactions that its founder has been able to get insight into the mindset of the management team as well as decode the type of leadership that firm possess. That is why it came as a bit of a shock when we had learnt (while texting with him), the departure from the CEO role of Charles H. de B Carey.
Charles Carey’s five year fixed term contract as the Chief Executive Officer of Cavmont Bank ends on 30th June. Due to personal family commitments, the Board and Mr Charles Carey have mutually agreed not to extend the contract beyond this date.
We had enjoyed many great conversations with the outgoing CEO from badgering him to get Cavmont to advertise on our platform to his take on MPC press statements that had come before. The soft spoken, intelligent and quirky banker took the helm of Cavmont Bank as Chief Executive Officer / Managing Director on 1st July 2013. The bank, on its website, believed he brought a wealth of experience gained from his broad and diverse multi-cultural background, particularly Asia-Pacific, European and African influences.
The website further stated that “throughout his career he has been involved in the finance sector, primarily in the Corporate and Investment Banking segment. His experience spans: Relationship Management, Coverage, Capital Markets, Operations, Risk, Credit Administration, Business Development, Treasury and Marketing functions in single site, multi-branch and cross-border domains”.
An alumni of Citibank NA, London (UK), he has held senior positions in regional boutique and global financial institutions in Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia, with transactional coverage in several other African markets, including Nigeria, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He also held the position of Vice President at Loita Capital Partners International (LCPI), a Pan-African Investment Banking group, where he was in charge of Operations, Credit and Marketing functions. Charles brought a diverse background that the board of Cavmont desperately needed in its bid to transform the local bank.
Prior to his appointment at Cavmont Bank, Charles’ previous position was that of Corporate Banking Director for Barclays Africa and Indian Ocean, seconded to Barclays Bank Zambia Plc. He obviously feel in love with Zambia and has enjoy a great spell.
During one of our sit down meetings, he seemed modest when it came to embracing technology. He did however admit he was cost conscious and technology offered an opportunity to reign in costs. That is why were not surprised when one of his last acts as CEO was appearing on a live stream on facebook where he was seen launching a new product in a fun way. His leadership style was one that clearly weighed the opportunity cost. For example, he scoffed at the idea of spending huge sums of money on advertising campaigns when one could simply get the most value from customers that he already had. From a game theory perspective, Charles exhibited what is known as the Marris model of leadership whose emphasis is on organic growth and using capital for research and development expenditure in a trade-off with less dividends today for more dividends in the future.
According to a statement from their PR department, during Charles’ tenure, Cavmont Bank has achieved commendable growth in all areas of the business; balance sheet, revenue streams, customer acquisition and product development, most recently launching the mobile banking platform. Cavmont has become a recognised, respected and influential bank in the Zambian market, obtaining the industry’s first unsolicited Credit Rating (“A-“) in 2017 and 2018.
In terms of performance, Charles’ first year saw Cavmont increase customer accounts from 58 thousand to 63.2 thousand. Loans and advances grew from K235.4 million to K295.82 million. In his maiden annual report of 2014, Charles managed to grow revenues faster that costs with monthly losses trending downwards significantly compared to the same time the previous year before his time.
The 2016 year saw loans and advances reducing from K467.5 m to K466.6. However, customer deposits grew in the same period from K607.6m to K768.2m. Another blip was recorded in the 2015 financial year where the annual statement indicated that customer accounts had reduced to 54,002 from 63,227. We had reported this in our debut analysis of the bank. This resulted in us getting our first interview where Charles stated for the record that reduction was actually due to a data cleanup of accounts with the coming in of KYC.
With an academic background that has him holding a B.A. (Hons) in Politics, Economics and Social History from the University of East Anglia (UK) and a Diploma in Theology from Oak Hill Theological College in London (UK), we are in no doubt that the former Cavmont leader will be back on the scene in another high profile role. For now, we gather he is enjoying fishing and visiting exotic places whilst he ponders on his next move.
The board have not announced who the new CEO is but they have made an appointment that we missed. They have an interim CEO who joined the group and was seconded as a consultant and now has been appointed interim CEO. His name is Peet Van Der Walt.