The changes that swept through First Bank of Nigeria Limited and FBN Holdings Plc penultimate Wednesday and Thursday took many by surprise. The removal and reinstatement of FirstBank CEO Sola Adeduntan and subsequent sack of the entire board and management of the two institutions, spoke volumes of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) regulatory powers as contained in the Bank and Other Financial institutions Act 2020. Adeduntan reveals that he has since resumed at his desk in line with the directives of the Apex bank and looks set to reinvent itself, writes Collins Nweze
Nobody saw two leadership changes in First Bank of Nigeria Limited and FBN Holdings Plc within 48 hours coming.
But when they finally occurred, they set precedents that regulatory powers could be activated where corporate governance practices are breached.
The first change in leadership saw the six-year tenure of FirstBank Managing Director/CEO Sola Adeduntan brought to sudden end, eight months to its expiration.
The Board of First Bank of Nigeria Limited at its meeting Wednesday had approved the appointment of Gbenga Shobo, Deputy Managing Director, as the Managing Director/CEO designate of the bank sending Adeduntan to early retirement.
Also appointed were Abdullahi Ibrahim as Deputy Managing Director, while Ini Ebong, Segun Alebiosu, Seyi Oyefeso and Mrs. Bashirat Odunewu, were also appointed as Executive Directors.
The following day, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, reversed the appointments and sacked the entire Board of FirstBank and FBN Holdings Plc.
Emefiele immediately announced the appointment of new Board and Management for First Bank of Nigeria Limited and FBN Holdings Plc.
The total management and board reshuffle saw Adeduntan returned as the Managing Director/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria. Emefiele said he was satisfied working with Adeduntan on the bank’s stabilisation plan since 2016. Shobo was also returned to his former position as Deputy Managing Director/CEO for the bank.
Emefiele said the Management of the CBN acted in line with its powers under Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020.
In the new appointments, Remi Babalola was appointed the new Chairman, FBN Holdings. He replaced Oba Otudeko, the former Chairman.
The new directors are Dr. Fatade Abiodun Oluwole, Kofo Dosekun, Remi Lasaki, Dr Alimi Abdulrasaq, Ahmed Modibbo, Khalifa Imam, Sir Peter Aliogo and UK Eke – Managing Director.
The CBN also named Tunde Hassan-Odukale as Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. He replaced Mrs. Ibukun Awosika. The new directors of the bank are Tokunbo Martins, Uche Nwokedi, Adekunle Sonola, Isioma Ogodazi, Ebenezer Olufowose, Ishaya Elijah B. Dodo. Remi Oni was appointed Executive Director and Abdullahi Ibrahim also appointed as Executive Director.
The apex bank has also reassured the depositors, creditors and other stakeholders of the bank of its commitment to ensure the stability of the financial system.
“There is therefore no cause for panic amongst the banking public, given that the actions being taken are meant to strengthen the bank and position it as a banking industry giant,” the apex bank said.
According to Emefiele, the board is vested with the authority to make changes in the management team subject to CBN approval.
However, the CBN considers itself a key stakeholder in management changes involving FBN due to the forbearances and close monitoring by the bank over the last five years aimed at stemming the slide in the going concern status of the bank.