Goddy Egene and Obinna Chima
Another change is imminent in Keystone Bank Limited as the current Executive Director, Corporate and International/Investment Banking and Treasury, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Philip Ikeazor, has been appointed the substantive Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the bank, acquired by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) in 2011.
Sources close to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) informed THISDAY that Ikeazor would take over from Dr. Shehu Muhammad, who has been acting as the bank's managing director since October, last year.
THISDAY learnt that Ikeazor was appointed following a recruitment exercise that was conducted by a leading international accounting firm for candidates that applied for the job.
“The board of directors and AMCON mandated a renowned accounting firm to conduct the recruitment exercise. At the end of the exercise, they (the accounting firm) made their recommendations to the board and the preferred candidate, which was Philip Ikeazor, was chosen,” one of the sources explained.
Ikeazor’s appointment, however, is subject to approval of the central bank.
When contacted on the development, CEO, AMCON, Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi declined to comment.
With this appointment, Ikeazor becomes the second CEO of the bank as Mr. Oti Ikomi, who was appointed when the commercial bank was established resigned dramatically last October. Muhammed has since been acting as the CEO of the bank.
Ikeazor is a chartered accountant and graduate of Economics, University of Buckingham, England.
He is a professional banker with over 22 years cognate experience (largely in corporate and investment banking). He started his banking career in 1990 working for Nigerian American Merchant Bank, then affiliated to Bank of Boston, USA where he trained as a loan officer (1990-1996) and also worked at Merchant Banking Corporation (MBC), then affiliated to Bank Paribas (1996-2003).
He was a also director, Wholesale Banking with United Bank for Africa (UBA).
Ikeazor had handled commercial and offshore banking assignments in Ecobank Nigeria Limited. He was the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive of Ecobank Kenya Limited, a medium- sized commercial bank in Kenya affiliated to the Ecobank Group, between May 2008 and February 2009.
Keystone Bank is one of the three commercial banks that were acquired by the AMCON, through a ‘bridging’ process. The bank was established from the carcass of the defunct Bank PHB in August 2011.
The remaining two are: Enterprise Bank Limited and Mainstreet Bank Limited. The three banks are wholly owned by AMCON.
Chike-Obi recently informed THISDAY that financial advisers that were appointed to value there banks preparatory to AMCON exit was expected to summit their reports by next month.
“AMCON is going to be out of those banks as soon as practicable. But it may not be through a sale. There is a way to exit and investment without selling. Again, part of the options is to do a public offering where Nigerians can invest in some of it. The option of merging one or two of them is possible,” he had said.