Does Elumelu’s return to UBA signal the start of a reversal of hurricane Sanusi?

by Tunji Andrews

In an interesting twist which many industry analysts feel may open the door for more comebacks, the Board of Directors of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) have appointed Mr. Tony O. Elumelu as Chairman of the Board of Directors of UBA. Elumelu, who is also Chairman of Heirs Holdings, the pan-African proprietary investment company, which holds stakes in a number of leading African businesses, including Nigeria’s largest conglomerate by market capitalisation, Transcorp, as well as UBA, retired as Group Managing Director and CEO of UBA in 2010, following the introduction by the Central Bank of Nigeria of 10-year tenure limits for bank CEOs.

The statement by the bank, released on Monday, said that Elumelu would be bringing significant experience of the Nigerian and African financial services industry, both through his track record as the effective founder of the UBA Group and his wider business interests in strategic sectors across Africa.

After having served as CEO of the UBA Group for 13 years, where he was responsible for the overseeing of the merger between UBA and the former Standard Trust Bank in 2005, and the creation of what we now know as UBA.

In the recent past, since stepping down as MD, Elumelu has remained relevant by founding the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropy dedicated to the promotion and celebration of excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship across Africa. Within that time, he had also been awarded the Commander of the Order of Nigeria (CON) and was appointed as a member of the Global Advisory Board of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL).

The statement also described by UBA as a financial services institution that built a reputation for innovation and the democratisation of banking services and now spans Africa, providing services to more than 10 million customers, across the continent and in London, Paris and New York.

Elumelu, speaking with CNBC Africa, took the opportunity to thank share holders of UBA for believing in him and supporting the bank so far, while promising to employ his wealth of experience to bring brighter fortunes to the bank.

With operations in 19 African countries and presence in New York, London and Paris, UBA is one of the largest financial services institutions in Africa. The Bank recently unveiled its Project Alpha, a 3-year road map of key transformation initiatives, designed to consolidate the Group’s strategic positioning and fully exploit the opportunities provided by Africa’s economic renaissance and the Group’s unique platform.

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