… As Board picks Sulaiman new CEO
By Samuel Ibiyemi
Sterling Bank Plc. (Sterling Bank) today announces that its founding Director and long-serving Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Yemi Adeola has notified the Board of Directors of his desire to retire with effect from 1 April 2018 after over 14 years of service on the Board. He will be succeeded by Abubakar Suleiman (Abu), currently Executive Director, Finance & Strategy, a role Abu has served in since May 2012.
Yemi’s banking career started in the then Nigeria International Bank Ltd now Citibank Nigeria Ltd in 1988 where he served in various capacities and rose to the position of Executive Director in 1998, one of the youngest officers and indeed one of the first Nigerian nationals to be appointed in that capacity with the Citigroup Inc’s Nigeria unit between February 1998 and May 2003.
In July 2003, Yemi became the Deputy Managing Director ‘DMD’ of our legacy component, Trust Bank of Africa Limited. He was instrumental to the formation of Sterling Bank in 2006, served as Integration Director in the immediate post-merger phase and up until 2007 as Executive Director covering Commercial & Institutional Banking and later Corporate Banking prior to becoming CEO.
Mr. Asue Ighodalo, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Sterling Bank Plc commented: ‘In 2008, Yemi was appointed to the role of substantive CEO. Since that appointment, he has overseen a period of strong growth in market share and profitability with the institution moving from the 23rd ranked bank measured by assets to the top half of the domestic banking market.
Additionally, Yemi and his team have navigated multiple economic and banking credit cycles with great skill, sound judgement and outstanding professionalism often thriving in the most difficult conditions evidenced by the emergence of the Bank as a consolidator in the 2009-2011 cycle despite its modest capital base and distribution footprint at the time, and its continuing success in growing organically thereafter.
More than anything else, Yemi’s legacy is reflected in the excellent professional reputation of the Bank; the stability of its Board and Management – something rarely seen in merged institutions; and the overall strength of its institutional governance, all of which are achievements that I have no doubt that the new leadership team will build upon and extend even further.
On behalf of the Board and all our colleagues, I thank first and foremost his family for their sacrifice, and Yemi himself for his outstanding service to the Bank and exceptional leadership while trusting that we can continue to call upon his counsel as ‘Emeritus CEO’, notable shareholder and friend of the Bank.’
‘I am equally pleased to welcome Abu into the CEO role. Over the years, Abu has developed an outstanding strategic and operational track record across all our business areas and great relationships with customers and other stakeholders in key areas of our businesses.
Some of those outstanding contributions have spanned the leadership of our Corporate Treasury and Finance functions, Mergers & Acquisitions having served as Integration Director & Interim CEO of Equitorial Trust Bank (“ETB”) prior to its consolidation into Sterling Bank and executive sponsor of some of our most successful growth initiatives. Abu is a seasoned executive with exceptional ability and his emergence underscores the quality of our leadership pipeline at executive level.
His appointment is a result of a rigorous and wide-reaching process conducted as part of our succession planning and we look forward to him leading our Bank through the next stage of its development. Abu’s appointment has already received all mandatory regulatory approvals’.
Mr. Abubakar Suleiman said: “I am deeply humbled but delighted to be stepping into the CEO role at this time. Over the past decade under Yemi, our share of the banking market has grown significantly, and our brand has become established in the marketplace. I look forward to working with the Board and my colleagues in Management towards building on the excellent foundation already in place to deliver superior value for the benefit of all our stakeholders’.
Mr. Yemi Adeola, CEO said: ‘Our Bank has grown materially in all respects over the past decade moving from being a marginal player on the fringes, to an established operator trusted by millions of people today. The achievements highlighted by the Chairman in his remarks have required huge personal sacrifice on the part of many people. I am extremely grateful to all of them for their support and know that Abu and his team can continue to count on this support in the months and years to come.
I would like to specifically thank our customers, the shareholders, the board, our staff and regulators amongst others for their support and goodwill. Sterling Bank is well set for the future and I believe that now is the right time for me to step down and pass on the baton to Abu. As a Bank, we have done well, are doing well and have great prospects for the future. Our institution has the resources both human and material to look forward and write a new chapter in its history.
There are exciting choices for the new generation of leaders to make, especially with the increasing integration of Nigeria into the global economy, an increasing need for economic diversification in the face of a post-fossil fuels world, and the transformational impact of digital technologies on financial services. I am especially pleased that the board has chosen a successor from our internal talent pool further affirming the quality of senior leadership within the company and the long-term sustainability of our business model.
I leave in place a team that has been central to what we have achieved over the past decade and have no doubt that they will successfully lead our institution to an even stronger position in the financial services market in the near-future.’