Nicholas Ithondeka, 36

Chief Executive Officer

Co-operative Investments Services (CISL)

Three years into his job as chief executive of Cooperative Investments Services — the fund managers of Co-operative Bank — Nicholas has already led a turnaround in the pension scheme’s assets from Sh40 billion to Sh120 billion. The actuarial scientist landed his first opportunity as a 23-year-old trainee before turning his eyes on the investments sector.

He was among the pioneer class of actuarial scientists at the University of Nairobi after which he later joined the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK. “As I progressed, naturally I was inclined to what I love most which is investments,” says the avowed lover of mathematics and father of three.

“Then I refocused my lanes and moved to main-stream investments and asset management at Old Mutual Asset as a manager.”Nicholas then joined Pinebridge Investments (now Sanlam In-vestments), one of the biggest fund managers at the time. For three years, he served as a senior investment manager before Co-operative Bank came calling in early 2016.

Today, he is one of the youngest CEOs in the bank, at the helm of a pension scheme that currently has Sh120 billion in assets.“You can conquer anything you set your mind on with focus, clear strategy and the power that God has given us in the form of a great mind,” Nicholas says.

Away from work, he is a partisan for vintage cars. When he is out of office, he cycles with his two sons or spends time on the wheel of his 1969 Mercedes Benz (W114). As an industry player, he sits on the board of directors of the Fund Managers Association and the Bond Markets Association of Kenya.

—John Mutua