Banking’s Power Shift •New chief executives assume duties today


By Ayodele Aminu, 08.02.2010


Today marks a new beginning at Skye Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and Zenith Bank Plc as power effectively changes hands. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had ruled last January that, as part of the banking reform, any chief executive who had spent 10 years or more should retire by July 31, 2010.


The policy immediately led to the retirement of three CEOs: Mr. Jim Ovia, the founder/chief executive of Zenith; Mr. Tony Elumelu, the Group CEO of UBA; and Mr. Akinsola Akinfemiwa, the CEO of Skye Bank.


In came Godwin Emefiele (Zenith), Phillips Oduoza (UBA) and Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti (Skye). The new CEOs assume duty today at the corporate headquarters of their respective banks in Lagos. They each can now spend a maximum of 10 years as chief executive, in accordance with the CBN policy.


At the three-day seminar organised for business correspondents and editors in Benin, Edo State, last week, CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, had maintained that bank chiefs or leaders of any institutions do not need more than five years and just one term to effect any change.


He said that if those in management positions are mindful of the fact that they would give an account of their stewardship one day, they would behave well.


There are, however, strong indications that the new managing directors of these institutions are not likely to effect any significant change in the business focus of their respective banks because the former CEO had been gradually winding down the control of the banks since six months ago when the CBN announced tenure policy.


This means the new CEOs have been indirectly running these institutions since then.But industry watchers believe that the major challenge for the trio is how to surpass the achievements of their bosses.


Zenith Bank:

Godwin Emefiele

Emefiele, who has been on the bank’s management team since its inception, was appointed as deputy managing director of Zenith Bank in 2001. Prior to the appointment, he was the bank’s executive director in charge of corporate banking, treasury, financial control and strategic planning.  The position enabled him to oversee all the group’s local subsidiaries, treasury and correspondent banking, and multilateral, conglomerate and private banking.


With over 23 years of banking experience, Godwin, who holds B.Sc and an MBA both in Finance from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, had a stint as Lecturer, Finance, Bank Management, and Insurance at the University of Nigeria and University of Port Harcourt respectively, before his sojourn in the banking industry. He is an alumnus of Stanford University, Harvard and Wharton Graduate School of Business.

The board said on his appointment: “Given his pivotal role, the bank has benefited from his in-depth knowledge of finance and banking. Emefiele’s strong leadership skills will no doubt be a significant advantage as he sets in motion the combined vision for the Zenith Bank Group.”


Skye Bank:

Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti

A seasoned banker with many years of cognate banking experience, spanning Banking Operations, Treasury Management, Investment Banking, Project Finance and Commercial Banking,   Durosinmi-Etti has taken over from Akinfemiwa. He is a 1982 Economics graduate from the University of Ibadan and a fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom.


After a stint in audit practice, he started his banking career in 1987 when he joined the Nigerian-American Merchant Bank Limited (Affiliate Bank of Boston) where he was in charge as the Head of Accounts/Computer and later, Internal Control. Thereafter, he moved to Midas Merchant Bank as Head of Treasury and Assistant General Manager in charge of Money Market Division, before stepping up to become an Executive Director, and later, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 1994.

Years later, he joined the Lagos Building Investment Company Limited in 2001 as Managing Director, and thereafter moved over to join the train ground-breaking at the EIB International Bank Plc in April 2002, where in July, 2002, he was appointed as the MD/CEO. While at EIB International Bank Plc, he successfully anchored the turnaround of the bank and led it to becoming one of the strong banks in the country. He was DMD in the last five years until now.


Phillips Oduoza

Oduoza, now at the helm of UBA, holds a first class degree in Civil Engineering and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Lagos. He is an alumnus of the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) of Harvard Business School and has over 20 years banking experience spanning all facets of the profession.


The new UBA boss started his banking career with International Merchant Bank (IMB) as a Credit Officer, where he trained in credit analysis. After working for one year he moved to Citibank, the world’s largest financial services institution, a period during which he was equipped with an indispensable knowledge of banking operations, relationship management, credit/marketing, efficient implementation of technology, risk management and lean banking methods.


He worked with a small team of young and talented professionals to pioneer Diamond Bank Plc and built it into one of the strongest brands and most successful financial services entity in the country. As Executive Director, Operations & Technology at Diamond Bank in 1999, he transformed IT within the bank to global standards. He became the Executive Director, Commercial/Retail Banking at the same bank until 2004 when joined Reliance Bank Limited  as Deputy Managing Director, where he worked briefly before joining the Management and Board of Standard Trust Bank Plc in December 2004.

He has attended numerous banking, management and leadership courses, and has strengths in execution, talent management, technology integration and lean banking.




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