The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has approved the appointment of Birtukan Gebreegzi as the sixth CEO of Wegagen Bank following the resignation of the former head. The appointment also makes Birtukan the second sitting female president in the banking industry.
Birtukan was officially handed over the presidency on Thursday, December 10, 2020, becoming the second sitting female president next to Melika Bedri, who was recently named CEO of the newly formed ZamZam Bank. Brutawit Dawit was the first female president of Wegagen Bank.
Birtukan has a first degree in accounting from Addis Abeba University and a second degree in international business from Greenwich University, London. She has 35 years of experience in the banking sector, working at different institutions. She climbed up the corporate ladder after beginning her career as a bank clerk at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) to become director of international banking and, later, district manager.
Later, Birtukan joined Bank of Abyssinia as director of international banking and served for two and a half years. Her last and most prominent position was as vice president at Enat Bank. Birtukan played an instrumental role in the establishment of Enat, taking charge of overall strategic leadership and operational activities like credit, domestic and international operations. She was the first managerial personnel appointed by the Bank.
In addition to her contribution as a vice president, she took the lead to set up Enat Bank's first office, hired staff and performed other managerial activities. She served in the position for 9 years until earlier this week.
"I was very happy with my time at Enat bank," Birtukan told Fortune. "I want to experience managing a big bank like Wegagen."
Coming into her new role, Birtukan has confidently set out plans to take the Bank to the next level.
"My first goal is to change the Bank's image, which has been negatively affected recently," she said.
The Bank has recently been accused of storing illegal weaponry, hurting its image a great deal.
"I'll do my level best to steer the Bank toward better achievement," stated the new CEO during the reception ceremony following her appointment.
Going beyond financial institutions, Birtukan has served as a board member of Metehara Sugar Factory, on the board audit committee of Nefas Silk Paint Factory, and as board vice-chairperson of Finot Health Centre.
The board of directors of the Bank nominated Birtukan as president after the former CEO, Abay Mehari, handed in his resignation during October of this year, citing personal issues that he was hesitant to disclose. Abay has been serving the Bank since February 1, 2019. He has also had his share of experience working in the banking sector, including a role as vice president at CBE.
During Abay's tenure, Wegagen was able to realise a 1.1-billion-Br gross profit, a 47pc increase from the previous fiscal year. The total capital of the Bank has grown by 19pc to 5.1 billion Br. The number of its employees has reached 4,907 and opened 43 new branches in the last fiscal year, pushing the total number to 383.
"The annual report numbers would be indicative of my achievements," said Abay, who received his first degree from Addis Abeba University and a second degree from Greenwich University in international business.
Wegagen Bank's total earned income increased by 38pc. Earnings per share also rose by 31.3pc. Its account holders reached 1.8 million, a 38pc increase.