Twenty-odd years later, she still sits at the helm, a testament to the trust the bank management and board have in her. Under Devji’s leadership, Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) has seen substantial growth and expansion. The bank now operates over 183 branches across Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi, some of which are 24/7 digital branches and counting. This expansion reflects DTB’s confidence in the East African economy and its commitment to being closer to customers to support their personal and business goals. In 2022, Business Monthly Magazine named her one of the top 25 most powerful women in the C-suite impacting business.
Today, DTB is one of the most profitable banks, with an asset base of Sh 527 billion as of 2022. Last year, the bank registered a net profit of Sh 5.99 billion, a 4.3 percent growth from 2022, according to the Business Daily.
At the heart of this success is Mrs. Devji, whose journey to the top has seen her traverse three countries, from the point of her birth to schooling and working.
Nasim Mohamed Devji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania, where she completed her high school education.
When Nasim’s mother told her of an opportunity to study abroad for her university education, she agreed without thinking it out, unaware that this would form the foundation of her future career.
In 1973, Nasim moved to the United Kingdom for her University education.
In the UK, it was a dramatic shift for her, coming from a laidback and quiet Tanzanian upbringing. Armed with her tenacity, the spirit of hard work, and fiery ambition, her first obstacle was the fact that the UK wasn’t as glossy and glamorous as she would have imagined.
Taking up a course in Accounting, Nasim had to work and study to pay her tuition, building her resilience and determination to succeed.
Her efforts paid off with her graduating with a degree in Accounting, a key that opened her first door to becoming a Chartered Accountant in England and Wales.
Finding Speed and Balance.
With a passion for finance ignited in her, Nasim would soon discover that her Accounting degree was not enough to tap into the intricate world of global finance.
She specialized in taxation with her eyes on the oil market in the UK and furthered her studies in oil taxation. Her understanding of taxation and the oil business opened the door a crack into a bright future as a banking executive.
After her education, she served as the Audit Supervisor at Touche Ross & Company (now known as Deloitte Touche & Company) between 1977 and 1979. She then worked as a Group Tax Manager at Imperial Continental Gas Association for eight years, followed by roles at Aga Khan Foundation (U.K) and Agip (U.K) Limited, where she honed her expertise in finance and taxation
After years of building a solid foundation in the UK financial industry, her thirst for growth and impact led her to make a bold decision: move back home.
In 1996, she packed her bags and moved back to Kenya, ready to unlock her full potential.
However, no one prepared Nasim for the challenges and setbacks in her career journey. Despite her remarkable experience in the UK, finding the role of her dreams in Kenya proved more challenging than she had imagined.
She stood through the headache of job hunting and the challenges of settling back in Kenya. In 1996, her determination paid off, and she secured a job with the DTB Bank. Marked with a humbling process, Nasim began her career as the Regional Financial controller, a position she held for five years.
First Female Bank CEO in Kenya.
Dedication, commitment, hard work, and excellence never go unnoticed.
In 5 years, Nasim’s exceptional leadership skills skyrocketed the bank’s success, and she wrote her name on the wall in bold letters. Her trans-formative work was seen, heard, and applauded.
Her outstanding performance as a Regional Financial Controller opened the big door to her new rank as the first woman to climb the ladder to become CEO of a commercial bank in Kenya in 2001.
She became the CEO of Diamond Trust Bank Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Jubilee Insurance Burundi, and Diamond Trust Bancassurance Intermediary Agency Limited.
With strategic leadership, Nasim steered the expansion of DTB, unlocked its potential, and spearheaded the bank’s growth, leading to its position as a leading financial institution in East Africa. Devji’s leadership style can be characterized by her focus on innovation and strategic growth. This is evident in DTB’s partnership with Mastercard , which highlights her commitment to digital transformation and fintech partnerships. The agreement with Mastercard enables DTB to offer tech-enabled companies in Kenya the ability to issue their own card propositions, thus enhancing the digital payment ecosystem in East Africa
Nasim has strategically managed and affected changes in financial culture for people and organizations.
With over 75 years of operation, DTB is ranked among the top 100 banks in the world and is one of the leading 250 businesses in Africa, thanks to Nasim’s empowering and transformative leadership.[SN4]
🌟 Trail of Achievements
- 🏢 Nasim is the Group Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Trust Bank East Africa
- 🎓 She is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales
- 🌐 She is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors Kenya
- 🧮 She is an Associate of the Institute of Taxation in the United Kingdom
- 🚺 She is the first woman as CEO of a commercial bank, with only four other female CEO’s in the industry to date.
- 🏆 2010: Received the ‘CEO of the Year’ award from the Capital Markets Authority
- 🏆 2011 & 2013: She received the Chief Executive of the Year in Banking award from Think Business Limited
- 🛠️ Established an effective and lasting corporate governance framework at Diamond Trust Bank
- 💡 She is a transformational leader and trailblazer in finance and business.
In addition to being recognized as one of the leading CEOs in Kenya, Devji’s success and leadership have earned her a place among the top 25 Powerful Women in the C-Suite Impacting Business in 2022. Her achievements in the financial sector and her role in steering DTB’s expansion have been widely acknowledged.
Her leadership has broken barriers in the financial industry, bringing financial access to the people and positively impacting the economies of the countries in East Africa where DTB operates.
Her influential role in the finance revolution has left an indelible mark on the walls of finance and paved a path for women in the finance industry. She is an inspiration and an affirmation that anyone can follow their dreams and conquer.
Firm in her dreams and goals, Nasim is committed to mentoring women and the youth, empowering them to recognize their potential and advance in their careers.
She acknowledges that family is her pillar of strength, the most excellent support, and the foundation that keeps her grounded in her dreams.
Her story is a true statement of determination and the limitless possibilities and potential within us.