The Oasis Reporters
December 18, 2021
When Oba Otudeko asked the First Bank of Nigeria Managing Director, Kazeem Adesola Adeduntan to resign, little did he know that a whirlwind of change was going to upset the entire leadership of FBN Holdings PLC.
First, Nigeria’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria moved in swiftly as the banking sector’s regulatory body and promptly disbanded the board of FBN PLC, thus causing Oba Otudeko to lose his position as chairman. Then reinstated Kazeem Adeduntan.
The CBN announced Remi Babalola as board chairman.
And now Remi Babalola, a former Minister of State for Finance, who in April was appointed chairman of FBN Holdings Plc by the Central Bank of Nigeria, following the abrupt exit of his predecessor Oba Otudeko, has given up the top board role at the financial services group.
Although no official announcement has yet been made, including from the Nigerian Exchange Limited, it has become common knowledge because a new ‘biggest’ shareholder has just emerged at the holding company in the person of billionaire investor, Femi Otedola.
What is not known however is the raison d’être for the foray of Mr Otedola into the intriguingly fascinating scenario unfolding at FBN Holdings PLC.
Otedola had coolly and quietly set up a few multi purpose vehicles with one aim in mind.
To mop up FIrst Bank shares, at premium price. Soon he got more than enough to be announced the largest single shareholder of the numero-uno first bank in Nigeria, since colonial times. Then he bought some more and unabiguously announced himself through spokespersons, as the single largest shareholder.
Though he has said he has no interest in any board position in both the group and its subsidiaries, yet it is believed that he will be appointing someone onto the holdco’s board.
Mr Babalola was formerly an executive director of FBN Holdings commercial banking arm FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, with his broad experience spanning consulting, auditing, training and banking.
His career began at the consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers before he moved to American holding company Arthur Andersen and then Zenith Bank, variously serving as chief strategist, financial controller and general manager at the lender.
An agricultural economics graduate from University of Ibadan, he is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, and the Institute of Directors of Nigeria.
Events unfolding at the financial powerhouse remain worth watching.
Greg Abolo with additional reporting from Premium Times.