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Nairobi Stock Exchange Gets New CEO

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Congratulations to Peter Mwangi, erstwhile CEO of Centum Investments, on bouncing into the top chair at the NSE.

Mwangi apparently beat competition from two other candidates to get the job, with a cunning combination of youth, corporate experience and realistic salary expectations.

He’s going to have some challenges, to be sure. The NSE board are notoriously combative, and are likely to resist any moves to curb their power, such as the proposed demutualisation of the exchange. Then there are also all those angry investors to answer to, those who have either lost capital or savings as they have watched stocks sink and stockbrokers go bust. The words “chalice” and “poisoned” come to mind, but maybe that’s just me.

What I find most interesting about the story is that at no point did the NSE board seem to look for anyone outside the country to fill the role. While I fully understand the desire and, indeed, the PR value of having someone “local” to take up the post, it still leaves the question of whether they are really the best and most capable for the job. The problem with jobs that become reserved for “natives only,” especially in areas of finance and management, is that a greater talent may be overlooked in favour of that which closest to home. Let’s hope Mr Mwangi is up to the task.

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