Tsigereda Tesfaye, acting vice president of credit management at United Bank, has assumed the Bank's new position of VP for operations, replacing Girum Tsegaye.
On October 9, 2018, the National Bank of Ethiopia approved the appointment of Tsigereda, who has worked with United for the past decade and a half as acting is vice president.
"We chose her based on her competence," says Taye Dibekulu, president of the Bank, which was established two decades ago and registered a 573.6 million Br profit last fiscal year.
Her predecessor and outgoing vice president, Girum, served the Bank as operation manager for over five years. He was tasked with heading the building project office and construction of the Bank's headquarters. Construction of United's 1.5 billion Br, 32-storey headquarters was awarded to China Jiangsu International Economic Corporation in 2015.
Before being appointed to his last position, Girum worked as vice president of finance and administration for four years.
"I left the company on my own free will," Girum told Fortune.
Tsigereda will be managing the daily operational activities of the bank, specifically domestic banking, credit and loan analysis and international banking.
Girum lists the headquarters construction; the bank's achievement in tripling its deposits, total assets and number of branches, as his accomplishments during his tenure.
"The Bank needs to continue with its credit analysis system, and the togetherness of the staff in the years to come," Girum said. "The Bank should also maintain its prudent profile and work more with exporters to boost forex deposits."
Tsigereda, one of the three vice presidents of the bank, agrees with Girum's suggestion.
"We will be working on introducing new products on top of revising existing products based on clients' needs," she said.
Recently, United revised its product to the diaspora community to engage them in mortgage schemes, personal loans and direct investment. With the new scheme, the bank now offers mortgages with equity contributions starting at 20pc.
With the main goal of becoming a leading bank in East Africa, United has also hired Deloitte Consulting to redesign a new management strategy and business model.
"We are on our way to finalising the Bank's road map," she said. "I will be up front to attain our goals."
Her appointment comes at a time when the financial sector is dominated by men, unlike previous days.
Ethiopia abandoned the private banking sector following the removal of the imperial government in the early 1970s. Since its re-entry in the 1990s, the private banking industry has embarked on a journey to place women front and center. Aselefech Mulugeta was President of Bank of Abyssinia in the '90s. With its establishment in 1997, Wegagen joined the financial sector with Brutawit Dawit as its president. She headed Wegagen Bank for seven years and Zemen Bank for three years.
The other female forerunners in top executive positions are Mesenbet Shenkute, who served as president of Abay Bank; and Fasika Kebede, former president of Enat Bank.
Tsigereda, married with three children, believes women can serve with distinction.
"As far as competency is concerned," she said, "anyone can attain their goal through hard work."