Letshego’s new CEO speaks out

GABORONE 2 March 2020, Financial service provers Letshego Holding Limited announces the financial result for the year ended on 31 December 2019 in Gaborone on 2 March 2020. Group Chief Executive officer Andrew F.Okai announces the result to the guests. The result reflects 1 percent operating income, net advances to customer 4 percent, profit after tax 35 percent. (Pic:MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO)

•    Says the issue of his alleged poor relations dates back to 2015

•   At any rate, the board of Letshego and regulators were satisfied that he is the right guy

Andrew Okai, CEO of Letshego Holdings Limited, says reported issues about his alleged poor labour relations and negative interpersonal skills while he was at Standard Chartered Bank date back to 2015.  Hence, he says, he cannot dwell much on them, especially because Letshego and regulators had satisfied themselves that he was the right cadidate before appointing him CEO. 

Okai was responding to questions from The Business Weekly & Review last week during an engagement when he said his career had continued inspite of the allegations. “My career has not gone sideways or downwards,” he noted. “I have gone ahead in taking roles. I became the first African to take a serious and very senior role reporting to the management team of the Standard Chartered Group across some countries.” 

Before joining StanChart, Okai had started his career as a management trainee with Unilever Ghana. Although he was accused of abuse, Okai enjoyed a dynamic and successful career with Standard Chartered Bank where his latest role as Group Chief Operating Officer (Group COO) took him to Singapore with responsibilities spanning the international bank’s footprint across 30 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. 

As Group COO, Okai’s responsibilities included strategic transformation across processes and platforms, client experience, business/cost efficiencies and risk and compliance. 

Okai also played a leading role in managing Standard Chartered’s digital retail investment strategy, policies, procedures and systems required to deliver an enhanced client experience and achieved alignment with local regulatory requirements and mitigation of operational risk. When he joined StanChart, he held a number of senior roles, working in Ghana, Hong Kong, South Africa and Zambia. He was previously Head of Operational Excellence in Hong Kong, Regional Head Transaction Banking for Banks, Africa, Executive Director Consumer Banking in Ghana and CEO, Zambia. 

It was when he was CEO that he reportedly began to throw his weight about. One StanChart employee in Zambia, who was the head of Legal Compliance and Company Secretary, allegedly resigned as a result of Okai’s abuse and harassment. The employee subsequently sued StanChart and won after the bank failed to refute these claims in the Lusaka High Court. Okai was reportedly not in attendance. 

This native of Ghana was subsequently chosen by the board of Letshego to lead the pan-African lender.

He said this week that before anyone could employ anyone in a role like Group CEO of Letshego, much care is exercised in the application of due diligence. He said he knows for a fact that the board of Letshego used not just their own resources but also international consultants to do the due diligence for them and were satisfied. “StanChart as a group, which is well known as a conservative organisation, were satisfied,” he asserted. 

“The Letshego board was satisfied. The board of the country’s regulatory authorities was satisfied. I think that is sufficient proof that I am the right guy. I think the best thing I can say is I am here and you have every opportunity to get to know me. There is nothing better than you getting to know me better yourself.”