July 18, 2024

#First Bank’s Executive Reshuffle: Segun #Alebiosun Takes the Helm in Strategic Transition

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#First Bank’s Executive Reshuffle: Segun #Alebiosun Takes the Helm in Strategic Transition

#First Bank’s Executive Reshuffle: Segun #Alebiosun Takes the Helm in Strategic Transition
Olusegun Alebiosun

In a surprising turn of events, Segun Alebiosun, the esteemed Executive Director and Chief Risk Officer, is poised to assume the role of acting Managing Director and Chief Executive at First Bank, Nigeria’s most established banking institution.

Alebiosun is slated to fill the position temporarily until the appointment and Central Bank approval of a permanent chief executive. Amidst swirling rumors, the possibility of Adeduntan reclaiming his former position, akin to his 2021 comeback facilitated by then-Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, seems unlikely. “The die is cast,” remarked an insider to BusinessDay.

The board of the holding company is set to convene to deliberate on the rapid developments following the abrupt cancellation of the extraordinary general meeting and the unexpected resignation of the bank’s former CEO, Sola Adeduntan, who announced his departure from Washington on April 20.

Adeduntan is anticipated to officially pass the baton to Alebiosun on April 29, upon his return from the World Bank/IMF spring meetings in the United States.

New details have surfaced regarding the abrupt exit of Sola Adeduntan, the once influential Managing Director and CEO of First Bank, who was in attendance at the World Bank/IMF spring meetings in Washington when the news reached Lagos.

BusinessDay journalists have learned that the former CEO abruptly informed the board of his decision to resign effective immediately, a significant eight months before the end of his contentious third term, which he secured through an extraordinary intervention by former CBN Governor Emefiele.

An insider revealed a complex web of unresolved regulatory issues, mismanaged relationships, and ego clashes contributing to the unfolding saga. Initially, the central bank’s scrutiny targeted the entire board, but this stance softened upon realizing that the current board was a Central Bank appointment.

The intrigue deepened with the shocking annulment of the financial institution’s extraordinary general meeting, scheduled for April 30, 2024, to discuss capital raising plans.

Prior to his sudden resignation, there was speculation that Adeduntan would ascend to the Managing Director position at the HoldCo level. However, this move may have been thwarted by the regulator’s refusal to approve the bank’s request, possibly influenced by a mandatory two-year “cooling off period” between directorship tenures mandated by Nigerian banking regulations.

A recent gathering of key bank directors took place, although it was not a full board assembly.

Historically, First Bank’s policy limited Managing Directors to two three-year terms. Adeduntan’s departure marks a deviation from this tradition, as he was on track to become the first CEO to complete three terms.

In his resignation letter, Adeduntan expressed, “As you are aware, my contract is set to expire on December 31, 2024, after which I will no longer be eligible for employment within the Bank, having served as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank for an unprecedented nine years.

#First Bank’s Executive Reshuffle: Segun #Alebiosun Takes the Helm in Strategic Transition

The announcement highlighted a period of significant transformation and innovation at First Bank and its subsidiaries, establishing the institution as a powerhouse in the African financial landscape. “After a tenure marked by pioneering changes and positioning the bank as a beacon of financial excellence in Africa, I have decided to embrace retirement from April 20, 2024, to seek fresh opportunities,” the announcement conveyed.

The CEO also took the opportunity to extend his heartfelt thanks to the First Bank and FBN Holdings boards for their steadfast support during his term.

Adeduntan’s legacy at First Bank began with his appointment as CEO in 2016. Before this pivotal role, he served as the bank’s executive director and chief financial officer (CFO). His rich background in finance includes his tenure as a director and the founding CFO/business manager at Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), and earlier roles as a senior vice-president and CFO at Citibank Nigeria Limited, a senior manager in KPMG Professional Services’ financial services group, and a managerial position at Arthur Andersen Nigeria.

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