CDC announces two new senior appointments

26 Feb 2018

CDC Group plc, the UK’s development finance institution, has appointed Tenbite Ermias as its new Head of Africa and Chris Coles as its new Chief Investment Officer.

Tenbite Ermias, Head of Africa

Tenbite joins on 26 February 2018 and will be responsible for leading the development of CDC’s business in Africa. CDC currently invests in over 650 African companies, providing long-term capital and support to help them grow and create jobs.  

Tenbite is an experienced management consultant having worked in global roles from South Africa to the US, and the UAE to Kenya. He joins CDC from McKinsey where he has been a Partner for three years, prior to which he was with the Boston Consulting Group for over thirteen years. He is originally from Ethiopia and has engineering degrees from Stanford University.

Tenbite has significant experience in working with public and private sector organisations on economic development, health and infrastructure, as well as private equity clients covering the consumer, industrial goods and agriculture sectors in various parts of Africa. He was a member of McKinsey’s Africa People Committee that focused on recruiting and developing the continent’s best talent. Amongst other reports, he co-authored McKinsey’s 2016 flagship Africa publication ‘Lions on the Move II: Realizing the Potential of Africa's Economies’.

From late summer 2018, Tenbite will be based in Nairobi, from where he will lead CDC’s Africa operations. He will sit on CDC’s Executive Committee.

Chris Coles, Chief Investment Officer

Chris’s role as CIO will focus on overseeing CDC’s overall investment strategy, the financial performance of its portfolio and the allocation of capital across CDC’s target geographies of Africa and South Asia. He will chair CDC’s Investment Committees and will sit on CDC’s Executive Committee.

Chris has over 25 years of investment experience and joins CDC from Actis, where his previous roles included Chairman of the Executive Committee, Chief Operating Officer and a Board Director of Actis LLP.

Prior to joining Actis, Chris was a Managing Director and Head of Leveraged Finance at Barclays Capital, a Director at SG Warburg, and European and Group Treasurer at the WPP Group. He holds a master’s degree in international development. Chris replaces Frances Reid, who takes on a new role at CDC as Managing Director, covering Investment Risk, Policy, and Analytics.

Welcoming both appointments, CDC’s Chief Executive, Nick O’Donohoe said:

“I’m delighted to welcome Chris and Tenbite to CDC. Chris brings a wealth of experience and a deeply-held commitment to the role that the private sector can play in development. As CDC grows and plans to invest more than ever in its history, Chris will play a key role in ensuring we continue to get the right type of capital to those businesses that make the most impact. 

“Tenbite’s appointment will help CDC expand the reach of our capital in Africa and strengthen our relationships with our investee companies, fellow investors, governments and other stakeholders. As CDC expands its presence on the ground in a number of African countries, Tenbite will provide the leadership needed to maintain CDC’s reputation as one of the leading investors in Africa’s private sector.”



Rhyddid Carter +44 (0)7824 552326

Notes to Editors:

  1. CDC Group plc is the UK’s development finance institution. Wholly owned by the UK Government, it invests in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with the aim of supporting economic development to create jobs.  CDC Group plc has invested in Africa since its establishment in 1948.  Find out more at
  1. CDC takes a flexible approach and provides capital in all its forms, including equity, debt, mezzanine and guarantees, to meet businesses’ needs and achieve development impact. CDC has net assets of £4.8bn.


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