Francis Okomo-Okello
Kenya
Francis Okomo-Okello
  • Chair, Barclays Bank of Kenya and TPS Eastern Africa Limited-Serena Group (Financial Services; Hotels)
Born near Lake Victoria near Kisumu, Kenya, 1949. LLB, University of Dar Es Salaam (1971).
“[W]hether you are a bank or you are a hospitality organization or a media organization, you are part of an ecosystem and there are certain responsibilities that you would have as a responsible corporate citizen.”

Summary

Francis Okomo-Okello, the chairman of the Nairobi-based luxury hotel group Serena as well as the Kenyan affiliate of the British bank Barclays, discusses the opportunities and challenges faced by business leaders in Kenya on the basis of his experience at Serena, which he joined in 1975. He shows that the response of Serena to political risk in Kenya was regional diversification, creating an East Africa-wide luxury tourist group. Okomo-Okello talks passionately on the evolving standards and corporate norms of Serena, and the commitment to local engagement and environmentalism. He focuses more broadly on issues of sustainable development, globalization, ethical business practices, and the need for banks to engage in responsible lending.

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Francis Okomo-Okello, the chairman of the Nairobi-based luxury hotel group Serena as well as the Kenyan affiliate of the British bank Barclays, discusses the opportunities and challenges faced by business leaders in Kenya on the basis of his experience at Serena, which he joined in 1975. He shows that the response of Serena to political risk in Kenya was regional diversification, creating an East Africa-wide luxury tourist group. Okomo-Okello talks passionately on the evolving standards and corporate norms of Serena, and the commitment to local engagement and environmentalism. He focuses more broadly on issues of sustainable development, globalization, ethical business practices, and the need for banks to engage in responsible lending.
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Video Clips by Topic

Okello 3

Francis Okomo-Okello, Chair of the leading Kenyan luxury hotel group Serena and of the subsidiary of a major foreign bank, describes his belief that a bank must engage in responsible lending for the sake of future generations: “We are essentially public trustees.”
Keywords: Social Impact, Kenya


Corruption

Frances Okomo-Okello, Chair of a leading Kenyan luxury hotel group and of the subsidiary of a major foreign bank, observes the eco-system of corruption in Africa, which adds greatly to the cost of doing business, but argues that businesses can still thrive without engaging in it, if they manifest determination and consistency, and they can enhance their reputations as a result.
Keywords: Corruption, Kenya


Social Responsibility

Francis Okomo-Okello, chair of a leading Kenyan luxury hotel group and of the subsidiary of a major foreign bank, discusses his approach to corporate social responsibility programs based on full understanding of the needs of the local community.


Regional Integration

Francis Okomo-Okello, Chair of the leading Kenyan luxury hotel group Serena and of the subsidiary of a major foreign bank, discusses the need for regional integration in Africa as it would create larger markets and promote economies of scale which would contribute to the overall economic development of the region.
Keywords: Kenya


Okello - Sustainability

Francis Okomo-Okello, Chair of the leading Kenyan luxury hotel group Serena and of the subsidiary of a major foreign bank, discusses how the Serena Group functions within the Aga Khan Development Network, which seeks to promote ethical and sustainable businesses.


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Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Interview Citation Format

"Interview withFrancis Okomo-Okello, interviewed by Henry McGee, Boston, MA, February 28, 2014, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."