Anxiety as Sebaana is appointed DTB bank MD

There are fears of massive staff exodus at Diamond Trust Bank Uganda Limited (DTBU) following the appointment of Godfrey Sebaana as new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.

Insiders in the bank whispered to us that the new appointment has created anxiety with many of the staff not being able to tell their future with certainty.

Many fear they might be axed.

Some are pondering throwing in the towel early.

Sebaana succeeds Varghese Thambi who has been at the bank’s helm for 16 years.

We are told due to his longevity, a section of staff had got accustomed to his style/way of doing things.

Thambi reportedly had a group of staff loyal to him.

And he would always protect them from any scrutiny.

It is mostly this category that fears the new boss may not tolerate them.

 “They would have been chased for a long time, but he always protected them. But they now fear the new boss will simply sign their firing letters,” a source intimated.

We are told the bank bosses indirectly fired Thambi because of the rot at the bank as we shall reveal in our subsequent publications.

He also leaves at a time when the bank’s relationship with borrowers is at its lowest point, something that continues to erode customers/depositors confidence in the bank.

The new MD who was poached from Standard Chartered Bank Uganda where he has been the Executive Director and Head of Corporate, Commercial, and Institutional Banking has a task to fix this and among others as we shall be subsequently reporting.

“He was fired. A lot has been taking place in the bank and the shareholders put the blame on him as the head. He reached a point and ran out of ideas to make the bank more profitable. So, they could not keep him around anymore,” a source pointed out.

The Board of Directors of Diamond Trust Bank Uganda Limited (DTBU) has named Godfrey Sebaana, a seasoned banker with over twenty years of experience, as its new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.

Sebaana’s appointment is effective April 2nd, 2024.

Varghese Thambi is retiring from the Bank at the end of March 2024 but will remain available for a time afterwards to ensure a smooth transition.

Commenting on Sebaana’s appointment, Azim Kassam, the DTBU Board Chairman, said that the Bank is looking forward to building on the legacy left behind by Thambi to accelerate the Bank’s progress on its future growth trajectory.

“I am delighted to welcome Godfrey Sebaana into the DTB family and look forward to leveraging his rich domestic and regional banking knowledge and expertise to accelerate our future growth,” said Kassam.

Sebaana has worked in Uganda and Tanzania and was most recently the Executive Director and Head of Corporate, Commercial, and Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda.

During his extensive career, he has developed a broad experience in areas ranging from mergers, acquisitions, corporate advisory and financial institutions management, across various industry segments including global and local corporates, SMEs and retail.

Sebaana is a qualified accountant and a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) UK and holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh Business School.

“Godfrey joins us at a very exciting time, almost halfway through our 5-year, post-COVID business growth strategy that started in 2022, at the core of which is an ambitious and aggressive digitally-driven customer acquisition and retention strategy.

The Board is confident that the skills, experience, local knowledge and passion that Godfrey brings to the table will accelerate our transformation towards being a digital-first, innovative, top tier bank that places customer needs and responsiveness at the heart of our offering.

We are very fortunate to have someone of Godfrey’s calibre and top-notch credentials taking over from Thambi at the helm of the Bank, and we are all very much looking forward to working with him in the months and years ahead,” added Kassam.

Kassam also expressed the Bank’s immense gratitude to Thambi for laying a firm foundation for the Bank in Uganda.

“In the last 17 years, DTBU has grown from just one branch to become one of Uganda’s most respected, successful and strategically important financial institutions. It now has 37 branches across the whole country and its staff complement has grown from less than 60 in 2007 to 680 today, of whom 56% are female.

“Whilst the whole DTBU family has contributed to this growth and success, at the centre has been the unstinting effort and unwavering dedication of Thambi. He leaves the Bank as it emerges from the industry-wide challenges of the past few years showing huge promise and potential, and on a very strong platform from which to propel itself into the future.

“He takes with him the deep gratitude and very best wishes of the Board, the staff, and the innumerable customers that he and the Bank have supported over the years,” noted Kassam.


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