Regional Head: Products & Innovation, East Africa – (Product development / Functional Executive / Fintech)

Eastern Africa
Posted 5 months ago

Reference No. JACD-02

Job Description: 


To drive the strategic evolution and innovation of the company's product portfolios from Interswitch Group's business lines (i.e Purepay, PayToken, Paymate, Inclusio, Systegra, and Indeco) in East Africa, delivering customer-focused Fintech solutions that cater to emerging market demands and establish a leading presence in the Region's competitive Fintech landscape.


Licenses And Certifications:


Evidence of strong industry/sector participation and relevant professional certifications such as:


Product Management certifications such as Certified Product Manager (AIPMM) or similar. In-depth knowledge of agile methodology & certification such as Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), SAFe Agile Product Management (POPM/APM) or similar. In-depth Knowledge of Data Analysis & Structured Problem Solving. Innovation Management Certification from reputable institutions. Local Regulatory and compliance Certifications that is relevant to Fintech operations in East Africa, ensuring alignment with regional regulations. Lean Six Sigma Certification: LeanSix Sigma principles focus on eliminating waste (non-value-added activities) and reducing variation in processes, i.e. for process improvement, operational efficiency, and quality management. Given the dynamic nature of FinTech, streamlined and efficient processes can lead to quicker product deployments, reduced operational costs, and improved customer service.


 


Responsibilities:


  • Lead the formulation of a comprehensive Product Management strategy and policy aligned with the company's growth objectives and market trends in East Africa.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to define, scope and prioritise new product development, upgrade existing features, suggest enhancements and new offerings.
  • Collaborate with business development, sales, marketing, engineering and customer service teams to align new product developments and existing product enhancements with EA market demands and trends.
  • Develop go-to-market strategies, including product positioning, marketing campaigns, and sales enablement, to ensure successful product launches and adoption.
  • Conduct regular product portfolio assessments for Purepay, PayToken, Paymate, Inclusio, Systegra, and Indeco to determine enhancement opportunities, areas for new product development, and potential areas of retirement or consolidation.
  • Establish product roadmaps with clear milestones, incorporating feedback from key stakeholders and considering both new product introductions and enhancements.
  • Manage the entire product lifecycle, including planning, development, launch, and ongoing maintenance.
  • Make data-driven decisions to optimise product performance, address issues, and drive continuous improvement.
  • To provide strong leadership and direction to the Product Management & Innovation teams, fostering a high-performance culture, setting clear objectives, and empowering team members to excel in their roles.
  • Oversee the end-to-end product management process, from concept ideation to prototyping, testing, QA and launch.
  • Identify skills gaps within the Products and Innovation teams, particularly around new product development techniques, and champion continuous learning through workshops, courses, exchange programmes and certifications.
  • Establish a mentorship programme to cultivate rising talent within the team and promote a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.
  • Ensure alignment within the team around the company's broader goals through regular alignment sessions and strategic discussions, encompassing both product enhancements and new product developments.
  • Create a collaborative and motivating work environment that encourages innovation and professional development.
  • To collaborate effectively with various departments, in country and regionally, to ensure seamless coordination and alignment of efforts towards achieving the company's growth objectives in the Region.
  • To lead organisational change initiatives, driving a culture of adaptability and agility.
  • Effectively communicate strategic shifts, manage any resistance, and ensure that the entire team is aligned with company's vision and objectives.
  • Oversee the Product Management & Innovation teams to drive innovations to stay ahead of Fintech trends, adopting or creating innovations that give the company a competitive edge.
  • Drive innovation by identifying emerging customer needs, market opportunities, and technological advancements.
  • Conduct market research, competitor analysis, and customer feedback analysis to inform product decisions.
  • Monitor industry trends, regulatory changes, and customer preferences to maintain a deep understanding of the East African Fintech landscape to identify emerging Fintech opportunities for both product enhancements and new product creations.
  • Collaborate with the research team to prototype innovative solutions based on identified market gaps and customer needs.
  • Engage with industry think tanks, academia, and Fintech forums to stay updated and inspire the development and enhancement of product offerings.
  • Foster robust collaboration between Product Managers, Operations & Technology, Business Development, Sales & Delivery and Marketing teams to ensure cohesive product development, enhancement, and deployment processes.
  • Foster strong communication channels to align Product strategies with cross- functional goals.
  • Coordinate with Legal and Risk & Compliance departments to guarantee that all products, whether newly developed or enhanced, meet relevant regulations and standards.
  • Analyse product performance, revenue, costs, and profitability to inform pricing strategies and resource allocation.
  • Collaborate with Finance to develop product-related budgets and financial forecasts.
  • Organise and facilitate quarterly reviews with the Managing Director, Country General Managers and other Regional Heads to align product strategies, new product ideas, and gather feedback.
  • Champion a customer-centric mindset, ensuring that products are designed to meet the unique needs and preferences of East African customers.
  • Gather customer feedback and insights to iteratively improve products.
  • Establish and oversee customer feedback channels for both enhancements of existing products and requirements for new product developments, using tools such as focus groups, surveys, and direct feedback mechanisms.
  • Prioritise product developments and enhancements based on customer feedback, ensuring that the product team continuously innovates and refines offerings.
  • Collaborate with the marketing team to effectively communicate changes, enhancements, and introductions of products to the customer base.


Behavioral Competencies


  • Formulates a clear Product Management & Innovation strategy for the EA
  • Region and maps the aggressive steps that will clearly accelerate the Region toward its strategic goals. Is the first to spot possible future Product Management & Innovation policies, practices, and trends in the Region, with the competition, and in the marketplace. Applies knowledge of business and the marketplace to advance the Region's goals. For example, ensures that the team understands and discusses relevant industry changes. Gives strong messages about how people's efforts make a difference to the broader East Africa Region.
  • Steers the Region toward Product innovation, ensuring it stays at the forefront of Fintech developments. Tries multiple, varied approaches to innovative ideas and ensures the company product suite aligns with market needs and technological advancements.
  • Sets stretch goals and objectives, pushing individuals or teams to perform at higher levels, by using a collaborative and inclusive leadership style that fosters teamwork, motivates employees, encourages cross-functional collaboration and values, encourages, and supports differences, leading to a high-performing and cohesive Regional Product Management & Innovation team.
  • Identifies and monitors key financial indicators to gauge performance, identify trends, and suggest strategies that can impact results. Transforms financial information into business intelligence through analysis and integration of quantitative and qualitative information.
  • Focuses efforts on continuous improvement; has a knack for identifying and seizing opportunities for synergy and integration. Separates and combines tasks into efficient and simple workflow and thinks about the whole system. Process optimisation through proficiency in analysing operational processes, identifying inefficiencies, and implementing optimisation strategies. Understanding of lean principles to streamline processes, minimise waste, and enhance operational efficiency.
  • Experiments with a wide range of existing technologies while applying new and emerging options that can enhance organisational outcomes.
  • Observes situational and group dynamics and selects best-fit approach. Picks up on the need to change personal, interpersonal, and leadership behaviour quickly and seamlessly adapts style to fit the specific needs of others.
  • Consults with a wide network of internal and external connections and works through formal and informal channels to build broad-based relationships and support.


Education:


  • Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Finance, Information Technology, Computer Science or related field from an accredited University.
  • An advanced degree, e.g., Master’s in Innovation/Technology Management would be highly advantageous, or MBA would be preferred for higher level of understanding in business, financial and technological aspects of the industry.


Experience:


  • At least 12 years' experience in a C-suite or Senior Management role, preferably in a reputable Financial Institution or Fintech company, covering the aspects listed below:
  • A solid understanding of the Fintech ecosystem, this can include experience in mobile banking, digital payments, blockchain, or any other Fintech innovation prevalent in East Africa.
  • Demonstrated experience in product or platform development and management.
  • Deep familiarity with East African Fintech regulations with demonstrated experience in roles.
  • Demonstrated experience in product management, especially in the Fintech sector.
  • Knowledge of Platform strategy and how the company can adopt it in East Africa to gain competitive advantage.
  • Demonstrated experience in market analysis to identify and leverage trends, ensuring products remain or become market leaders.
  • Demonstrated experience in roles focusing on innovation, ideally integrating innovation into existing product lines or creating novel Fintech products.
  • Experience working across multiple jurisdictions is an added advantage.


Managerial Experience:


  • At least 8 to 10 years’ proven leadership experience, with at least 6 years spent in a C-suite or Senior Management role of developing, cultivating and leading high-performing product management teams.
  • Demonstrated experience in coordinating with Executive or Senior Management, external partners, and other stakeholders, ensuring product and innovation goals align with broader company objectives.
  • Demonstrated experience of managing financial resources, ensuring product and innovation projects are delivered within allocated budgets.
  • Strategic decision-making experience is critical for formulating strategies – demonstrated experience of strategic decisions that have led to growth, innovation, and market expansion.


  • Demonstrated experience in the East African financial market, understanding its unique challenges, opportunities, regulatory environment, customer behaviours, and cultural nuances is critical.


Additional Information:          


  • The role reports to the Managing Director, East Africa
  • Nature of Impact: Directly tied to revenue generation, market expansion, and relationship management with clients or partners in designated country. The role is core to the EA business’ success and has direct and final accountability for achieving the Country revenue and profitability targets as set by the MD, EA as well as for increasing the market share, customer acquisition, and retention rates of the designated EA Country.
  • Longevity: Both immediate (quarterly / annual sales targets) & long-lasting impact (establishing LT contracts, opening new markets & building strategic partnerships).

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