193: An African Tale | Paul Russo CEO of KCB

The Leadership Enigma

12-04-2024 • 32 mins

Paul Russo is the CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB). This episode was recorded in Nairobi on the site of KCB's Leadership Centre. KCB is part of the critical financial infrastructure for 33 million people. They are present in 7 East African countries running over 300 branch networks, over 4000 agency outlets with 12,000 staff and a strong legacy as KCB is over 120 years old.
Paul is a deeply committed CEO who believes passionately that 'people are everything' Paul is a also a  very humble leader from humble beginnings which has crafted the human leader he has become. He is from a family of 6 siblings, his parents were nomads from the north and he was the only one to go to school due to the efforts of the Catholic Church and local community and the NGO Indigenous Information Network. Paul is incredibly grateful to the community who ensured he was able to get an education, he therefore uses his role as CEO to lift as many people as possible.
Paul has committed time to continually engage staff across the business as he understands that his leadership must be 'energy expensive.' As the CEO Paul understands that he must absorb the difficulties of the business in order to allow his people the space and time to create the value necessary for success. He is the role model to thousands inside the business and is well known across the country so his actions matter to millions.
The new purpose of KCB if 'For People, For Better' and Paul is committed this will be  the North Star for the financial success that the bank must also attain and sustain.
People technology and partnerships are Paul's primary focus yet people remain the paramount consideration. Paul's background is human capital and he leverages that experience to focus and understand his own human centred leadership style.
Paul remembers his late parents and the resilience instilled in him as a child dealing with drought, bandits, disease and disadvantage. He leverages these experiences to harness his own ability to overcome challenge combined with his burning desire to never go back to his old way of life.
Paul is an outstanding example of a Human Centred Leader driving his business as a Force for Good. Paul explains he is paid to care and the results will come and he works tirelessly to provide all of his people the reason to believe.


Additional Heidrick & Struggles article with Paul Russo https://www.heidrick.com/en/insights/leadership-assessment/people-dont-just-matter-they-are-everything_an-interview-with-paul-russo-group-ceo-of-kcb-group

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