Stella Kilonzo

Experience As:

Chief Executive Officer
Executive Director
Strategic Advisor

Based In:
Chicago, Nairobi
Language (s):
English, Swahili – Kiswahili

Stella Kilonzo

Stella is an emerging/frontier markets strategic mission finance leader in global development, debt and private equity capital markets, financial policy and regulations, and corporate finance strategic advisory. Stella’s career straddles the private, public, multilateral and international non-profit sectors in the US and Africa. Stella has led a series of firsts as an innovator and builder of platforms, new business lines/products, and teams.

A Principal at ExecHQ, Stella undertakes emerging markets strategic advisory and execution consulting engagements focusing on mission finance solutions for impact; innovation; market access and global partnerships. Previously, she was Global Director of Treasury Innovation at World Vision International, an international NGO (iNGO) operating in 100 countries with over $3B annual revenue. She identified key treasury/ risk management opportunities and issues that iNGOs experience which deliver last mile payment solutions and/or efficient impact operations in global humanitarian contexts. She led the thought leadership platform, the Treasurers and Insurance Roundtable, bringing together treasury and insurance/risk management leaders from iNGOs, higher educational institutions, foundations, and affiliate entities, to addresses treasury and insurance challenges and provide a sector framework to develop solutions that ensure protection of donor funds through high fiduciary standards. Prior to this, Stella independently undertook bespoke consulting mandates in development finance and strategy in US and Africa for clients.

In 2013 - 2019, at African Development Bank Group (AfDB), as Founding Senior Director, Africa Investment Forum (AIF), Stella architected and established the inaugural AIF deal-making platform curating a deal flow of 230 Africa private sector and public private partnership projects from scratch valued at USD 209B from 37 African countries and founding sustainable partnerships for the Forum. Prior to this, she was Head of Capital Markets, AfDB where she set up AfDB’s first client-facing capital markets business line and led teams in innovating new bond, private equity, senior & subordinated debt products in Africa’s capital markets across the private and public sectors financing over USD 1.2B in deals and over USD 10M in technical assistance.

In 2012 -2013, Stella was Founder of Astute Capital in Kenya, a strategic pan-African advisory firm specializing in corporate finance with a focus on capital markets development for clients in Africa and Europe. In 2008 - 2012, Stella was Chief Executive, Capital Markets Authority Kenya with a dual mandate of developing and regulating the entire securities/capital markets in Kenya in the period during and after the global financial crisis and led the Kenyan capital markets industry in instilling greater governance, financial soundness and global competitiveness. She previously served as Director, Market Operations responsible for supervision of all the licensed institutions including the stock exchange. Hitherto, Stella worked at PwC corporate finance advisory in Africa; and at Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in financial market regulation supervision.

Stella has actively served in non-executive directorships, advisory, thought leadership roles including WEF's Global Advisory Councils on global financial system; banking and capital markets.

Stella graduated summa cum laude (First Class Honors) − BCom Accounting Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, attained MBA Corporate Finance & Operations Management from Loyola University Chicago, attended IE Business School executive education. Stella is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and an Africa Leadership Initiative East Africa Fellow of the Aspen Institute. Stella is a naturalized US Citizen and also holds Kenya citizenship. She lives in the Chicago metro with her family.