CEO, Mainstreet Bank, Ms. Tuedor-Matthews
Shaka Momodu profiles some bankers, administrators and public servants whose career by sheer resilience or providence has experienced a lift from past disappointments.
In an industry disproportionately dominated by men, not only has this woman been holding her own, but her indefatigable spirit has ensured that she has remained as constant as the northern star in the nation’s banking industry. Currently, the managing director and chief executive of Mainstreet Bank, Ms. Tuedor-Matthews is not new to the sector.
By the turn of this year, she would have put twenty-seven years of her professional career into the banking industry. And while there might have been some periods of lull, she has remained present. She started with the United Bank for Africa, one of the biggest banks then, after her national service. She was there till 1992 when she joined the Ecobank Transformational Incorporated.
She rose to the position of general manager before taking up an appointment as the executive director with Standard Trust Bank/UBA in 2003 and by August 1, 2005, she became the executive director of UBA after the merger of the two banks. She rose to the position of deputy managing director (North) of the bank and later the deputy managing director of same bank for Abuja till July 2011.
When she was leaving the bank, perhaps the thinking in the industry may have been that perhaps, it might be nunc dimitis for a blossoming career that had by then spanned twenty-six years. Speculations like this might have also been fuelled by the Sanusi Lamido Sanusi tsunami hitting banks around this period. This tsunami saw some banks’ whole management board being sacked and even some former bank chief executives keeping a date at the court. However, that was not to be the case for Tuedor-Matthews. After some shrewd calculations led to her exiting UBA, she went underground to think of what next. But as fate would have it, she was called up to take up a higher responsibility as the managing director and chief executive of Mainstreet Bank. It was one of the nationalised banks that rose from the ashes of banks like Afribank Plc. It was a stunning rise and a massive comeback.
Tuedor-Matthews holds a degree from Southampton Institute in the United Kingdom and also a Master’s degree in business administration from the University of Aston, also in the United Kingdom. To complete the acquisition of the proverbial Golden Fleece from the land of the Queen, Tuedor-Matthews bagged a post-graduate diploma in marketing from Staffordshire University. An alumnus of the famous Harvard Business School Senior Executive Programme, she is also a graduate member of the Chattered Institute of Marketing, London and a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.
The return of Ahmed Kuru to the topmost echelon of the Enterprise Bank was both a vindication of a flawless career and a testament to his competence as a finance manager. Though he started as a civil servant, the switch to banking was smooth and without hitches. He started as budget analyst with the federal ministry of finance in 1984 and by the following year, he had become the management accountant with the now defunct Nigeria Airways. Perhaps, he believed he had seen enough of bureaucracy, he moved to the then Habib Nigeria Bank in 1985 as assistant manager.
The banking career took off in earnest; and smoothly for that matter. He rose through the ranks and he was tasked with the responsibility of seeing such critical departments like risk management, compliance, commercial banking, northern operations, public sector, multilateral agencies and the West Coast, East and Central Africa expansion of the bank. He was later to become an executive director of the bank, even after the bank and Platinum Bank had merged to become Bank PHB.
Then the bubble burst; or so to say. Bank PHB became troubled and Kuru, along with other management staff of the bank were shown the exit door. A career that had spanned nearly three decades seemed to have come to an end. Or so it seemed. Reason being that he was just about three months into his position as executive director in the bank before he was booted out. He became the executive vice-chairman of Emeritus Capital Limited, a financial services outfit, focusing on international business development with special attention for sub-Saharan Africa.
The bones were to rise again. He was named the managing director and chief executive of Enterprise Bank, one of the newly nationalised banks that came from the remnants of some distressed banks. It was a reflection of his spotless career and an indication of the faith those who made the appointment had in him. It was a massive comeback and that which has helped the bank in no small measure.
Speaking in December last year at stakeholders’ conference of the bank, Kuru had this to say concerning his mandate and that of his management team in the bank. It gave insight into his operational methods:
“We believe we should be a preferred bank; anybody that comes to Enterprise Bank must come with the thinking that by the time you leave the bank, you have a value addition to whatever that brought you into the institution; especially now that we have come out with a new mission statement that we are going to delight our customers with a highly motivated workforce. Actually, that is the core of what we are doing because to delight your customers you are going to be able to identify all the parameters that are very critical to customers and then create models around them to be able to deliver values as being required by customers.”
It was an insight into what Kuru has returned to the mainstream of banking with. A bachelor’s as well as master’s degrees holder from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kuru has attended many trainings and courses both within and outside the country. These included the senior management development programme by Philip Consulting in South Africa and leadership programmes at the London Business School.
Ahmed Kuru has indeed returned.
A consummate politician, planner, lawyer with an incredible gift of the garb, Ojo Maduekwe has all packed into one. Since his recall from his position as the nation’s foreign affairs minister, not a few have been asking where is the promoter of the ‘bicycle-for-transport’ alternative. Was he dead politically or just lying low. Such questions are instructive. He was elected a senator of the Republic in 1992 and by 1999 he was back. Even when the military kept politicians at bay, Ojo Maduekwe was never subdued; even if some the positions he took ran against the grain of popular opinion as at that time.
When democracy returned in 1999, Maduekwe was one of the main pushers of the set to rule People’s Democratic Party, PDP. He worked for the emergence of president Olusegun Obasanjo and when the spoils of war were to be shared, he was rewarded with the responsibility of superintending over the affairs of the culture and tourism ministry. It was from here he moved to the ministry of transport and he became one of the power brokers of the ruling PDP.
He was to later have a running battle with some political leaders from his home state when he described as “idiotic” the calls for an Igbo presidency in 2003 and also calls for confederation. He later became the National Secretary of the party and he was on the position until 2007 when he was made the minister of foreign affairs. Many saw this again as a reward for his contributions to the emergence of the late Umar Musa-Yar’Adua as the president. He held this until 2010 when President Jonathan came on board and dissolved the cabinet upon the death of Yar’Adua. And with that, he went into some sort of oblivion. Many quickly forgot him. But perhaps, he still had an ace up his sleeve. He has just been appointed as the country’s ambassador to Canada.
With this appointment, Maduekwe is back to his familiar turf: the corridors of power and dining and wining with the powers that be. And with his posting to a strategic country like Canada, the man from Abia State can still pull some political punches.
He is a banker par excellence. He was one of the few guys who took the risk by plunging into the unpredictable waters of the banking industry. The result was the setting up of the Standard Trust Bank, which was to later merge with the United Bank of Africa. While the bank took the name UBA, the reflection of Standard Trust being a major partner in the marriage was in the logo the bank unveiled in 2005 upon the merger. And apart from this, Elumelu became the managing director and chief executive of the bank.
Tony started out early. In 1985, at the age of 22, he set up BGL Limited, an asset management outfit and was the pioneer chief executive officer. From then, his career in the financial sector took off and he was never to look back again. Twelve years after that 1985 move, he and other investors and turn-around experts took over the then troubled Crystal Bank and changed the name to Standard Trust Bank. The bank grew in leaps and bounds and by 2005; the bank became the first small bank in Africa to buy over a bigger bank. Quickly, he began the three-tier approach of making the bank strong, visible and the biggest in Africa. In no small time, the bank had had branches in twenty African countries. This is not to mention presence in the United Kingdom, the United States of America as well as France.
The bank was getting “A” rating in annual rating of banks worldwide and with brand value of almost three hundred and fifty million US dollars. ($350m) and the bank was listed as one of the 40 fastest growing companies in Africa.
He retired in 2010 following the new CBN directive that bank CEOs should not exceed ten years in office. If anyone is expecting Tony to just going into a quiet retirement, then they have got a new thinking coming. He set up Heirs Holdings and later became the chairman of Transcorp, an investment company that bought over NICON Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Today, Tony is running a massive farm in Taraba State. The farm is so big that even the President himself went there to commission it.
Tony is always a recurring decimal! Those close to him say his head is always spinning ideas, and with age still very much on his side the cowboy of banking of the banking sector may soon spring another surprise on the business community.
A financial expert who has put the name of her fatherland in the global map of financial management, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is today the minister of finance and coordinating minister of the economy; not by her political connections but based on what she has to offer. A former managing director of the World Bank, Okonjo-Iweala hit national prominence when former president Olusegun Obasanjo brought her home, in 2003 after his election for second term in office. He was appointed the minister of finance and she acquitted herself well and one of her major achievements was being able to negotiate the repayment of the nation’s foreign debts.
But the honeymoon was soon to be over. Caught in the dangerous labyrinth of political chessboard, Okonjo-Iweala’s influence was cut down as she was removed as the minister of finance and redeployed to the foreign affairs ministry. The reason behind this redeployment was not based on the fact that Okonjo-Iweala was not performing; in fact many would attest to the fact that she was working and discharging herself quite well. But again, perhaps she forgot to remember that she was operating in a political environment and not in the corridors of Bretton Woods where things always worked with clinical precision. Okonjo-Iweala could not take it and she resigned. But she would later come back.
And the comeback was spectacular. When President Goodluck Jonathan became president, he went shopping for a credible hand to handle the finance ministry. Okonjo-Iweala was said to have been reluctant when she was approached. The experience she had with former president Obasanjo was still fresh. She eventually accepted to serve and not only was she made the minister of finance, she was made the co-ordinating minister of the economy. This means she would be in charge of the economy and her brief would go beyond supervising the finance ministry but other sectors of the economy.
For those who might think Okonjo-Iweala was gone for good, the comeback was stark reminder that she is an issue in the nation’s corridors of power.
Though he studied insurance, he made his name in the aviation sector. Kayode Odukoya was the man behind the success of Bellview Airlines. It was at a time when Bellview was a preferred airline brand in the country; it was the choice of the corporate world and players when they wanted to travel. The airline was one of the very few airlines to get into the lucrative Lagos-London route. But all that changed with the October 22, 2005 plane crash that claimed the lives of many Nigerians. Odukoya’s aviation management career seemed destined for the rocks. A journey into the limbo had begun.
It was not to be. Today, Odukoya, associate member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, is the managing director of First Nation Airline, the airline that apparently emerged from the remains of the now defunct Bellview Airlines.
For a career that many thought might have to be revived in another sector, the emergence of Odukoya as the chief executive of First Nation Airlines is a classical never-say-die tale. Against all odds, he is now the new driver of the country’s newest entrant into the highly capital-intensive airline business. Even though whispers are out there about some unseen hands with very deep pockets behind the scene, Odukoya is the face readily identified with the airline. The failure of Bellview will no doubt provide useful lessons to Odukoya on how not run airlines as he runs the affairs of First Nation. The jury is still out on how far he can go with this new race. But it is surely the race of his life
He is blunt, unrestrained, controversy prone but cerebral. Mr. Festus Boniface Odimegwu, served as Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s biggest brewer, Nigerian Breweries from 1997-2006. Nigerian Breweries stock became the most capitalised on the Nigerian Stock Exchange under his leadership. Many will easily forget that Odimegwu was the spirit behind the partnership with Heineken that resulted into one of the world’s biggest Breweries in Nigeria. But it’s hard to forget, also, his very public and audacious support of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s third term bid.
Well, the third term bid was to buckle; and so too did the career of the number one brewer in the country then. He was eased out of his position with the excuse that he going to Harvard for higher learning. Alas, the man lost his swagger and his associates gave him some distance. He later threw his hat into the political arena and declared his intention to run in the 2007 Imo State gubernatorial elections but failed to get the PDP ticket.
He re-entered the business headlines when as the Chairman/founder and Owner of Franchise in ECOWAS Region of Quintessentially Nigeria Ltd, a Lifestyle and Concierge Services Company which turned out to be a tepid comeback for a man who wielded so much power and influence in the business world as the MD of Nigerian breweries. He went through some trying times in March 2010 when his wife was kidnapped at gunpoint and her driver shot dead.
He was initially included in the ministerial cabinet of newly elected president Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 but was unceremoniously dropped for reasons that baffled many. However he seems to have made a come back with his appointment and swearing in as the Chairman of the National Population Commission. He graduated with B.Sc first class honours in Chemistry from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, M.Sc Brewing from Beriot Watt University, Edinburgh, UK and attended various leadership and development programmes at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
He was also at the Wharton Business School, Unilever Four Acres Training Centre, Heineken Fauntablu Training Centre & at the HTS training Centre at Zoeterwoude, London Business School, Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Prior to his appointment as the head of the National Population Commission he served on the board of various companies as chairman FS Group of companies; Chairman Quintessentially Nigeria Ltd, Director Dangote Industries Ltd and Union Bank Nigeria Ltd
His new appointment will most certainly restore some of his lost swagger and bring new friends to the stable. His broad smile at the inauguration of the commission recently is a pointer to his renewed confidence.
Those who thought he was gone for good must be shellshock by his new bounce. And he must be grinning at them in derisive self-satisfaction. Until his appointment as the National Security Adviser, many have been asking where has he been. A fine officer with blue blood in his veins, Sambo Dasuki has seen so much in the military and it was by sheer providence that he was even alive to be appointed as the new NSA.
He was the last aide-de-camp of former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, until he was forced aside in August 1993. By the end of that year, his military career was on the verge of ending midway as the new man of power, General Sani Abacha, was stifling those perceived to be close to the former ruler. Dasuki was one of them. Though he remained in the army, he was always watching his back. He was not to watch too long. In 1995, he was implicated in a coup attempt alongside the likes of Colonels Lawan Gwadabe and Bello Fadile. Former head of state, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and his deputy, General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, were also implicated. The latter was never to return from prison.
Dasuki bolted and he landed in the United States of America. He was there until the death of Abacha in 1998 and the emergence of Obasanjo as democratically elected president. Obasanjo appointed him as the managing director of the government-owned National Security Printing and Minting Company, NSPMC.
Dasuki has an impressive academic record to show apart from his military training. He was at the George Washington University in the United States where he obtained bachelor’s degree in international relations and also a master’s degree in security policy studies. These were apart from his military training both at home and also in United States.
With this appointment, Dasuki, the royal prince of Sokoto and son of deposed Sultan Ibrahim Dasuki, is back and obviously, the nation has not heard the last of him.