15 January 2014

Nigeria: Okonkwo Resumes As Fidelity Bank CEO

Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo has assumed duties as the substantive Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fidelity Bank Plc. Okonkwo, who was last October announced as the CEO-designate took over on January 1st, when the out-going CEO of the bank, Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi went on terminal leave.

His appointment has also been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). A statement from the bank explained that with the successful transition, Okonkwo becomes the third CEO of Fidelity Bank. Until his appointment, Okonkwo was the bank's Executive Director in charge of the South Directorate.

The new bank CEO holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Benin and an MBA in Banking & Finance from Enugu State University. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Programme of INSEAD Business School, Fontainebleau, France, as well as an alumnus of Harvard Business School and Wharton School University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he has attended various other business and management training programmes locally and overseas.

"Okonkwo comes with over 24 years experience in various aspects of banking covering Domestic Operations, Corporate Finance, Corporate Banking, Retail, and Commercial/Consumer Banking.

Before joining Fidelity, he had a shiny career in United Bank for Africa (UBA) where he rose to the position of Managing Director and CEO, UBA Ghana, and later doubled as the Regional Chief Executive Officer for UBA West African Monetary Zone, with responsibility for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone. In his maiden address to staff members at the weekend, Okonkwo was said to have paid tributes to Ihejiahi for his achievements in Fidelity Bank over the last 10years.

He pointed out that under the Ihejiahi, Fidelity had grown from being in the top 30 banks in Nigeria; with 17 branches; N20 billion in deposits; N30 billion total assets; less than 150,000 customers to a bank that now ranks among the top 10 in Nigeria with over $1billion in Equity; over N1 trillion total assets; and 2.3 million customers as well as about 220 branches with presence in all the state capitals and major commercial centres in Nigeria.

"Under him also Fidelity has had some of the landmark international financial transactions in the industry, including the issue of Global Deposit Receipts (GDR) in 2007, and the $300 million debut issuance of internationally-traded Eurobond in 2013," he added. Fidelity Bank is also is also rated very high by two International Rating Agencies - Fitch (BBB+) and S & P (BBB+), as well as locally by Agusto & Co. (BBB+).

Unveiling his plans at a town hall meeting with some senior of the bank recently, Okonkwo promised to build on the successes of the immediate past CEO as pedestal to take the bank to a higher level. Commenting on the new era in bank, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fidelity Bank, Chief Chris Ezeh said: "We are very pleased to have made this choice and have no doubt that Nnamdi will bring his solid banking experience to bear on the task of moving the bank to a higher level. We, at the Board, will give him our full support to excel."

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