Before his appointment by President Umaru Yar'Adua as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank Plc, Nigeria's oldest bank and one of the biggest financial institutions in Africa. He rose to the position of CEO from the position of Executive Director, Risk & Management Control.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in 1981, after attending St. Anne's Primary School, Kakuri, Kaduna (up to 1972) and King's College, Lagos (1973-1977). On graduation from ABU, he performed his National Youth Service.
Sanusi began his working career in academics: he taught Economics at ABU (1983-1985). He then embarked on a banking career, first with Icon Limited, Merchant Bankers where, in a period of about seven years, he gained wide experience in issuing house activities, financial advisory services, privatisation, debt-conversion, credit and marketing. He rose to become area manager, Kano Area Office, before he resigned voluntarily to pursue higher education.
Between 1991 and 1997, he was at the International University of Africa, Khartoum, the Sudan, where he first studied Arabic, before obtaining a second Bachelor's degree, this time in Shariah and Islamic Studies.
He returned to banking in May 1997 when he joined the then newly privatised United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc as a Principal Manager II in the Credit Risk Management Division. He rose to Principal Manager 1 in January 1998 and Assistant General Manager by December of that year. He subsequently earned promotions to Deputy General Manager (January 2002) and General Manager (March 2005).
Sanusi is widely recognised in the industry for his personal contribution to the development of a risk management culture in the Nigerian banking sector. He had, in his capacity as Executive Director, Risk & Management Control of First Bank, championed remarkable developments in the bank's enterprise risk and management control mechanisms. Beyond the immediate scope of his primary responsibilities then, he had also made tremendous contributions as a member of the bank's Executive Committee, displaying much depth and capacity with his eclectic disposition.
Sanusi has presented papers at dozens of academic fora on several continents, and many of his papers have been published in academic journals, books and newspapers.