A day in the life of: a Head of Enterprise Risk Management

Sam Kibaara 200X200Sam Kibaara, Fellow
Head of Enterprise Risk Management
Kenya Power and Lighting Company

How did you get your job?

I started off as a risk surveyor for insurance underwriters in Kenya and East Africa region. This was immediately after gaining my Diploma in Electrical- Telecommunication Engineering. The firm sought risk surveyor’s trainees with a technical background. I later studied Commerce and IRM qualifications while on the job.

Later Ijoined Aon Global risk Consulting as a risk consultant, where my exposure in ERM was expanded and challenged. My cumulative experience in Risk Management is 18 years.

Currently I am the Head of Enterprise Risk Management at Kenya Power, the sole electricity distributor and retailer in Kenya, East Africa.

What’s a typical day like as a Head of Enterprise Risk Management?

As the head of Enterprise Risk Management, I start my day off by doing an external environmental scan from the media reports on all issues that are likely to affect the company’s strategic direction and/or risk profile. This may include Political, Environmental, Market, Legal and Regulatory issues. If there is a major change in any of the above areas, I immediately compile a report to the top Management indicating the impact on the Company’s risk profile for consideration.

Thereafter I receive the daily operational reports indicating the performance of the various Key risk indicators (KRI) to determine if the risk events are within the required tolerances. If some are showing unusual decrease and or increase I seek information on the same for monitoring or replication (if positive) Periodically I will be involved in risk awareness training for staff, Conduct meetings with risk champions and also compile monthly Management reports as well as the Quarterly Board risk reports.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Risk analysis and review of the various risk events and bring out some of the impacts that would not have been considered or thought about.

What are the challenges?

Quantification of the value of ERM to the operations and proving of the Business case especially when the Executive Management and/or Board are not fully risk aware.

In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

Very relevant; Having been one of the pioneer student in risk in this part of the World, the qualifications have proved very critical in defining my career as a risk professional. They have also been practical in developing and implementation of ERM frameworks and our organisation has become a pace setter in the public sector in the area of Risk Management. I have also been engaged as an independent consultant in many other external assignments because of my IRM qualifications.

What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?

I would encourage any person seeking to build a solid career in Risk Management to seriously consider joining IRM. The institute is has relevant resources and offers structured and practical path for risk professionals.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

As earlier mentioned I was engaged as a risk surveyor for Insurance underwriters. At that point qualifications in Insurance seemed most relevant until I encountered IRM. The institute helped me build an independent career in risk and the resources and papers available at IRM have also helped in keeping me up to date with developments in Risk management field across the globe.

My career ambitions are to become a leading risk management professional for both public and private sector in Africa where I can help the field to grow and mature like in other parts of the world.

How do I get into / work as a / become a Risk Management professional?

First and foremost it is important to acknowledge that risk professionals can be created from any background. So it does not matter which background you are coming from, but with the right attitude you can venture into risk profession.

Globally the subject of Risk management has become big and is now integrated in most other disciplines as a way of doing business. It is therefore important that anybody seeking to remain relevant in this field to seek appropriate professional qualifications. This is what IRM is offering and I thank the institute for creating a path that makes risk professionals stand out among other professionals.

Secondly it is important for those seeking a career in Risk Management to consider carefully the path and they can seek information from IRM website to assist in this area.

Lastly for those already in Risk professions, IRM offers some very practical resources that make you stand out in your performance and delivery of risk related aspects.