Spotlight on UBA’s Trailblazing Amazons

In a deeply patriarchal nation, one of those who have made a conscious effort to change the narrative is Mr Tony Elumelu, Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, who is committed to improving lives and transforming Africa. Also Chairman of pan-African financial services group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which operates in 20 countries in Africa, the United Kingdom, France and most recently Dubai, Elumelu doubles as chairman Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp, whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power and Transcorp Hotels Plc. While he is best known for the outstanding work he does through the Tony Elumelu Foundation which empowers women and men, catalysing economic growth, driving poverty eradication and ensuring job creation across the continent, Elumelu also stands out for taking the lead in making deliberate efforts to train and support women in leadership positions. For him, these appointments demonstrate commitment to nurturing talent and rewarding such excellent trailblazers. These crop of powerful women, who continuously shatter all glass ceilings, cut across treasury, international Banking, corporate communications, corporate banking marketing, human resources, etc. Chiemelie Ezeobi writes

Sola Yomi-Ajayi: Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking

Sola Yomi-Ajayi is a highly experienced banker with over 28 years of banking experience managing Corporate and Institutional relationships with significant experience in, regulatory engagement, structured funding, risk management, financial inclusion, transaction banking, correspondent banking, and operations.

As the Executive Director for Treasury & International Banking, Sola is responsible for strategy formulation as well as oversight for various business groups at UBA in America, UK, France and Dubai.

Additionally, she is responsible for the Group’s Treasury function, Financial Institutions, Embassies, Multilateral, and Development Organizations (EMDOs) and Global Investor Services (GIS) businesses. 

A Fellow of Chartered Management Institute, UK and Member, Board of Trustees for the US-based Institute of International Banking, she holds an MBA from the Aberdeen Business School and has attended leadership and executive programs at the Harvard Business School and Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.

Emem Usoro: Executive Director, North Bank, Nigeria 

Emem Usoro has over two decades of banking experience spanning retail, commercial, corporate banking and public sector, covering all the regions in the country. 

She joined UBA in 2011 and has worn several hats including Directorate Head, Abuja and North Central Bank and Regional Director, Lagos Island region.

A fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Emem holds an MBA and has attended leadership and executive programs at the Lagos Business School and Harvard Business School. 

Onari Duke: Non Executive Director 

Onari Duke is a Nigerian lawyer and wife to Donald Duke. She is the chairman of the board of Dizengoff Nigeria and non-executive director at United Bank for Africa.

She graduated with LLB Hons from Ahmadu Bello University in 1983 and was at Nigerian Law School, Lagos in 1984.

Caroline Anyanwu: Non Executive Director

Caroline Anyanwu holds a First-Class degree in Statistics from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria and has worked extensively in the fields of accounting, taxation, credit risk, and banking throughout her career of close to four decades.

She held the position of Deputy Managing Director/Chief Risk Officer in Diamond Bank before retiring in March 2019 having worked in the Financial Services Sector for over 30 years.

A professional Risk Manager with Strong Business Development Skills. Currently, she is Founder/Principal Consultant – Fineline Business Advisory; Founder/Director, Garden Court Investments LTD, and Non-Executive Director, UBA GROUP.

Erelu Angela Adebayo: Non Executive Director

Erelu Angela Adebayo is a businessperson who has been at the head of five different companies. Ms. Adebayo occupies the position of Chairman of Erelu Adebayo Foundation and Managing Director at Quintecca Nigeria Ltd. She is also on the board of United Bank for Africa Plc, Meyer Plc and Omega Savings & Loans Ltd.

She had her secondary education at the prestigious Queens College and thereafter proceeded to the University of Ibadan for her first degree in 1979. She bagged an MBA in 1982 from the University of Lagos. Erelu Angela Adebayo after marriage and two kids decided to take on an MPhil (Cantab) from the University of Cambridge in 1994.

She started her career in 1982 with ICON Merchant Bank Ltd as a Banking officer. She ventured into the property space in 1983 and worked with Ashland Oil Nigeria Company and A.A. Adebayo & Associates. She garnered extensive experience in the real Estate industry and today is a force to be reckoned with.

She briefly set aside her love for Real Estate from 1999-2003 when she served her homeland as the First Lady of Ekiti State. In this period she showed her passion for the underprivileged in the society by various acts of philanthropy. She is the founder and initiator of the Erelu Adebayo Children’s Home Iyin-Ekiti as well as the Chairman Erelu Adebayo Foundation for the underprivileged.

She serves on the Boards of Dangote Foundation, Afriland Properties, Meyer Plc, Greenwich Trust Limited and Women at Risk Foundation (WARIF), where she is the Chairman. She served previously on the Board of WEMABOD as the first female Chairperson. A feat also repeated as one of the first female members of the council of the NSE.

Angela Aneke: Non Executive Director

Angela Aneke is a board advisor, seasoned banker and strategic thinker with over 30 years of international experience at executive and board level positions across several nations spanning the African continent and the United Kingdom, at Citibank, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, United Bank for Africa Plc, and at the latter, she is a Non-Executive director.

Bola Atta: MD, UBA Foundation/ Group Head Corporate Communication

Bola Atta is a global marketing and communications icon, as well as an outstanding Corporate Communications Personality of the Decade winner at the 2021 Marketing Edge Brands & Advertising Excellence Awards, nominated as the Best Marketing professional in West Africa in 2017, one of the 40 top Nigerians under 40 in 2008, and celebrated as one of the 100 most influential women in Nigeria in March 2015, Bola Atta, is easily one of the most versatile and globally renowned women in Nigeria’s marketing and communications space.

A graduate of Economics with an M.B.A majoring in Marketing, she has almost 30 years of experience in diverse fields ranging from Banking, Business, Communications, Publishing, Entertainment, and the Media. 

 Approximately 20 out of her experience has been in high-level management and entrepreneurship, enabling her to gain advanced knowledge in each of these varied fields of work.  

She founded the Life Stream Charity in order to assist under- privileged children with heart problems. Over 100 children were sent to Israel from Nigeria for corrective heart surgery by the Life Stream Charity between 1997 and 2003. Atta is currently the CEO of UBA Foundation which focuses on Education, Economic Empowerment, and the Environment, bettering the lives of people across the African continent.

Bola Atta is presently the Group Director for Corporate communications for UBA (the United Bank for Africa). She is also the Executive Producer of REDTV.

 Modupe Akindele: Group Head, Human Resources

Modupe Akindele is a seasoned Administrator, an excellent manager of human resources who has had an outstanding 25 years career spanning HR strategy, Business Partnering, Compensation, and Talent Management. 

Prior to this appointment, she was the Group HR Director of Heirs Holdings Limited where she excelled as Director Human Resources championing several successful projects.

Michelle Nwoga: Group Chief Experience Officer

Michelle Nwoga is the Group Chief Experience Officer, responsible for the development and implementation of Customer Experience strategies across Private, Business, Corporate, and Financial Inclusion sectors for our 20 countries in Africa.

With almost two decades of banking and consulting experience that spans Business Development, Project Management, Brand Marketing & Communication, Customer Experience, and Engagement, Michelle is renowned for her wealth of experience in Customer insights, engagement, value management, and organisation development

Prior to joining UBA, she worked in several capacities in the UK as well as Access Bank and Diamond Bank, managing a host of successful projects and initiatives; some of which include Retail banking transformation, deploying the first retail banking sales force amongst others.

Michelle holds a Masters degree in Management, Marketing, and Organisation Management; a degree in International Relations, Environmental Science, and Business management from leading universities in the UK. She is also a certified Project Manager, Digital Marketer, and User Experience Designer.

She is a thought leader, an advocate for women empowerment, and has managed several mentoring programs for mother and the girl child; fully committed to transformation, customer centricity, inclusiveness, and engagement.

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