In a surprising turn of events, Geoffrey Odundo, the long-serving Chief Executive Officer of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), has announced his departure after nine years at the helm. His decision comes at a crucial juncture when the NSE is grappling with significant capital outflows, with investors opting to repatriate funds to the US and UK, marking one of the most challenging periods for East Africa’s largest stock market.
Odundo, who has navigated the bourse through various market dynamics during his tenure, acknowledged the tumultuous climate the NSE currently faces.
The exchange experienced its lowest moment last year, ranking as the worst-performing African bourse in dollar returns during the first nine months. This stark reality underlines the profound impact of foreign exits and global economic shocks on the once-thriving market.
In his official statement, Odundo reflected on his nine-year journey, expressing gratitude for the exciting experiences and challenges he encountered during his tenure. He pointed out that his term would officially conclude at the end of February, emphasizing that the decision to step down is part of the NSE’s well-structured succession process.
“The NSE has a very clear succession process; it doesn’t start at the end of the term; it starts a long time before that, and that’s been going on,” stated Odundo. He highlighted the institutionalization of the exchange, emphasizing that it is not solely dependent on the CEO but boasts robust structures and a formidable support team.
Odundo’s departure sparks questions about the future direction of the NSE, particularly in the face of ongoing challenges.
The capital outflows and the ranking as the worst-performing bourse are formidable obstacles that demand strategic leadership. As the search for a new CEO commences, stakeholders will be keenly watching to see who steps into the role and what vision they bring to reinvigorate confidence in the NSE.
Despite the current difficulties, Odundo remains optimistic about the exchange’s resilience. His departure, coupled with the institutionalized succession plan, underscores the NSE’s commitment to weathering storms and adapting to changing market dynamics.
The coming months will undoubtedly be a period of transition for the NSE, and the financial community will be closely monitoring developments as the exchange charts its course into a new era.