6 Questions for new Stanbic Uganda CFO Ronald Makata

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Ronald Makata, who was recently named chief finance and value management officer (CFVO) of Stanbic Bank Uganda, discusses his appointment in this CFO East Africa exclusive.

Ronald Makata has been named chief finance and value management officer (CFVO) of Stanbic Bank Uganda, effective November 2023.

Having joined Uganda’s largest lender by assets, customer deposits and revenues, a decade ago, as a manager of financial reporting, Makata has been on a rising curve, serving in different roles including financial controller, head of banking under Client Solutions and most recently, as head of Treasury and Capital Management.

Ronald had an exclusive discussion with CFO East Africa about his appointment.

Did you ever see yourself rising to this executive level?
Indeed! For one to experience a change in their career altitude, they need to have the right attitude. Stanbic is an extensive pool of talent and joining the team was a significant step in my career. However, my attitude has always been that the moment of arrival is the perfect time to set off again.

When you decide that being financial reporting manager was never the apex of your career journey, then you must be intentional about growing and equipping yourself with the right skills and experience to prepare you for higher altitude.

So, the recent development in my career is a welcome dividend of sustained self-improvement, empowering others and keeping the right attitude even through challenges.

What are some of the personal initiatives you have invested your time in, to reap this career dividend of Stanbic Uganda CFVO?
Over the years, I have been intentional about adding value to myself as a professional; it is also the same encouragement I have given to colleagues that I have been privileged to work with under the teams that I have led in the past. To that extent, I have led or been part of projects that have been implemented and successfully added value to our business.

The Standard Bank Group is transformational in nature, and I have been part of projects that were aimed at deepening controls across our network in Africa. I have also previously acted in the role of CFO in Stanbic Uganda and Stanbic Tanzania which experience has prepared me to take on the role in earnest.

As they say, it is better to be ready and not have the opportunity than have opportunity when you are not ready. I am confident that the opportunity to serve as CFVO has found me ready.

The role used to be CFO, now it has evolved to CFVO, in operational speak, what does it entail?
The role of the CFO is evolving. This evolution, as Mckinsey said in an April 2022 article, is because of increased adoption of digital technologies, disruptions caused by COVID-19, and a wave of geopolitical and economic uncertainties. These require that CFOs take on a pivotal role in their organisations’ strategic agendas. Value management speaks to impact because CFOs now must concern themselves about how their activities and decisions impact the organisation.

You can safely say that the CFO, operationally, sits in the co-pilot spot with the chief executive to drive strategy through partnering closely with the business units. You need to ensure you have the right matrices and projects that lead to overall improvement in the business environment.

The CFO is the orchestrator of the overall interaction of the systems, people and customers and your job is to connect the three to ensure value is added to the organisation and all stakeholders.

Who are the people who would take credit for getting you to this point?
It’s difficult not to think of the teams that I have led or worked with in the past; the success stories that we have written together have obviously contributed to my personal growth. I have worked with many leaders in the past and each one of them has had their unique contribution, direct or indirect, in shaping my career path.

I am thankful for the mentorship received from former CFO and current head of private banking Samuel Mwogeza. I also credit the inspirational leadership of the regional CEO of Standard Bank East Africa Patrick Mweheire and Stanbic Uganda CEO Anne Juuko. They both created space for me and others to prosper.

How will your skills and experience contribute to sustaining Stanbic Uganda’s performance in the market?
We have performed very well by demonstrating consistent growth across all key matrices. The bank is number 1 in the Ugandan market and my role is not to maintain the status quo, but to contribute to moving the bank to greater heights. 

Like the best marathon runners, I believe we are well positioned to move away from the rest of the pack in such a manner that it makes it very difficult for them to catch up. We will achieve that by becoming the preferred organisation that customers want to transact with.

As a leadership coach, what do you consider your secrets for success?
We work in diverse organisations and communities; the first investment should be in building bridges with key stakeholders. Self-improvement through mentorship and coaching is something I encourage young professionals to do.

Maintaining physical and mental fitness is the other thing not to forget; find time to exercise and enrich the body, but also engage in prayer if you are religious as it nourishes the soul and one’s spirit. When you take on an assignment, give it your best effort and deliver with impact.

Finally, respect everyone because people are ladders — you need them when going up and when coming down.

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