A thorough reorganisation of the senior management of National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) was announced on 16 October. This was part a move designed to introduce new career structures and make management more responsive to the increasingly diversified business of Bahrain’s biggest commercial bank.

The post of general manager and chief executive officer, held by Hassan Ali Juma, has been split in two, with Abdul Razak Hassan becoming general manager and taking over responsibility for daily operations. Other managers have been promoted and reorganised into groups reporting to Juma and Hassan.

The reorganisation had been planned for some time and was waiting for Hassan to complete a one-year MBA course at Massachussets Institute of Technology. ‘We feel the new organisational set up will produce better support for our long-term business plans and provide a career structure to allow our executives to progress in the bank,’ Juma said in a telephone interview on 17 October.

Hassan’s role involves handling the overall management process of the bank and ensuring effective implementation of the bank’s strategic and tactical plans. He will be responsible for the activities of NBB’s banking group, treasury and investment group, credit policy, risk management and public relations, and will work closely with George K Morton, head of the banking group. Morton becomes deputy general manager with responsibility for corporate, commercial and consumer banking, NBB’s Abu Dhabi branch and trade finance.

‘Abdul Razak Hassan, working with George Morton, will take care of business operations and control,’ Juma said. ‘This will enable me to focus more on strategic issues and policy issues, while they take care of the day- to-day management.’

Juma continues as chief executive, the most senior management post. Four support groups have been created – operations, administration, information technology and corporate planning.

Change was essential to meet the requirements of NBB’s evolving business, Juma said. The three-year strategic plan, introduced in 1993, has raised NBB’s profile. ‘It took us out of being just a domestic bank to become a much wider international player,’ he said. NBB has diversified into fund management and investment banking and is present in the bond and other capital markets. It has widened its reach to undertake operations elsewhere in the Gulf, especially into Saudi Arabia and the UAE. ‘We are now looking closely at Oman for opportunities,’ Juma said.

The bank has moved into international trade finance since 1993, when it focused on documentary credit deals for Turkey. These have now stopped, but in 1994 NBB has participated in letters of credit for India and Pakistan, plus a few transactions in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. It is assessing operations in China.

‘We are looking for further expansion in our trade finance operations, not only acting as a sub-participant with major players in the market but also looking for prospects as originators of deals, especially in the Gulf,’ Juma said.

An important aim of the restructuring was to create a more sophisticated career structure, able to provide managers with scope for upward mobility. NBB has established a broader tier of senior management with other executives being promoted and receiving new responsibilities.