Home Appointment Jeremy Awori will take over from Ade Ayeyemi as Ecobank’s Group CEO

Jeremy Awori will take over from Ade Ayeyemi as Ecobank’s Group CEO

by Goddie Ofose
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The recruitment process for the new chief executive of the Lomé-based pan-African group is coming to an end. The appointment of Kenyan Jeremy Awori, who will succeed Ade Ayeyemi, is just waiting for the validation of the regulator, as revealed by Africa Business+.

His name has been circulating in West African financial circles for several days. Kenyan Jeremy Awori is set to succeed Ade Ayeyemi as head of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) – Africa Business+ was able to confirm the news on 8 September.

After a recruitment process conducted by the international firm Egon Zehnder, the choice of the board of Ecobank, which must still be validated by the regulator, is the 51-year-old Kenyan Jeremy Awori. Contacted, the Lomé-based bank did not wish to comment.

Recruited in 2015, the Nigerian Ade Ayeyemi will leave his position at the end of this year. Awori will succeed him at the start of 2023.

Beat the odds

Formerly of Citigroup, Ade Ayeyemi has worked for the past eight years to turn around the pan-African group present in 33 countries on the continent.

He took up his post in a context still marked by emblematic Arnold Ekpe, in 2012, and by the difficult governance crisis that led to the abrupt departure of Ekpe’s successor, Thierry Tanoh.

Ayeyemi, a specialist in corporate banking, inherited a group whose net profit had fallen by 73% in 2015 and which had suffered a net loss the following year (205 million dollars). As he hands over the reins, Ayeyemi will point to the fact that the institution has posted a net profit of $262m for the 2021 financial year (of which $40m was distributed as a dividend).

While many analysts thought that his successor would be chosen internally, to ensure some continuity and capitalise on the newfound stability, the choice of Awori came as a surprise. Until now the managing director of Absa Bank Kenya (formerly Barclays Africa Group), a position from which he officially resigned on 8 September, Awori will have to definitively turn the page on the years of governance crisis.

Lagging behind in the Kenyan market

The arrival of a Kenyan at the head of ETI should enable it to truly establish its status as a pan-African bank. Deeply rooted in West Africa, the bank – whose results have long been mainly driven by Nigeria – has always been headed a West African. And it has so far struggled to establish itself in East Africa.

When it arrived in Kenya in 2008, Ecobank did not succeed in becoming one of the market leaders. Its subsidiary is a medium-sized bank, ranking nineteenth in terms of profitability, with a pre-tax profit of KSh612m in 2021.

Lagging behind in the Kenyan market

The arrival of a Kenyan at the head of ETI should enable it to truly establish its status as a pan-African bank. Deeply rooted in West Africa, the bank – whose results have long been mainly driven by Nigeria – has always been headed a West African. And it has so far struggled to establish itself in East Africa.

When it arrived in Kenya in 2008, Ecobank did not succeed in becoming one of the market leaders. Its subsidiary is a medium-sized bank, ranking nineteenth in terms of profitability, with a pre-tax profit of KSh612m in 2021.

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