The President of Dangote Group of Companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has expressed his desire to step down as President of the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), THISDAY has learnt.
Confirming this in a phone interview, Dangote said he informed the council of the NSE yesterday of his desire to step down, adding that his decision was informed by the need for him to focus on his company's expansion drive in Africa, as this would free him to properly position his varied interests on the continent.
He said his departure from the NSE council would pave the way for the former Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc and First Vice-President of the council, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, to step in as the new president of the Nigerian bourse.
He expressed confidence in Aig-Imoukhuede's capacity to take the stock exchange to new heights, saying: "You know Aigboje is highly regarded in financial circles and has excellent government contacts that would ensure that the exchange continues to have a good relationship with the market regulator and others in government. "Also, my stay as president was tenured for three years. But I have decided to step down before my tenure expires next year, irrespective of the fact that my companies on the exchange account for about 30 per cent of market capitalisation.
"This would enable me focus on my expansion drive in several African countries and allow a new leadership to steer the ship of the NSE."
He informed THISDAY that the handover of baton would take place during the annual general meeting of the NSE in July this year.
On the market's demutualisation, Dangote said it was still on course and expressed hope that his successor would complete it.
"We had already published a request for proposal (RFP) asking advisory firms to express interest to advise the exchange on its demutualisation.
"That is still on course and I hope Aigboje can conclude the demutualisation. I have always said that I have no interest in it and would not in any shape or form acquire shares when it takes place. So it is something that Aigboje would have to run with," he said.
The seasoned industrialist, Dangote, was elected the 17th president of the NSE in August 2009, while Imoukhuede was elected first vice-president in May 2013.
He would be the first president of the council to step aside before the expiration of his tenure.
The council of the NSE is made up of 14 members, consisting of the president, the chief executive officer, Oscar Onyema, and other members, including representatives of dealing member firms, who are highly qualified in their respective professions with a wealth of diverse experience. Dangote's group of companies comprises Dangote Sugar; Dangote Flour Mills; Dangote Cement and Dangote Oil, among other interests in real estate and other segments of the economy.
He is the first Nigerian to feature on the Forbes list of the world's richest men and in the most recent ranking emerged as the world's 25th richest man. Former President of NSE, Oba Otudeko said of his successor: "He is also a player and has stakes in the market with some of his listed companies. He would guard against all that might affect the market negatively."
As the immediate past managing director of Access Bank, Aig-Imoukhuede, through structured acquistions, saw the bank's rapid rise to rank among Nigeria's Tier 1 banks.
In 2012, he won the 2011 Ernst & Young West Africa Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was recently conferred with the prestigious African Banker Award by the African Banker Magazine.
He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School's Executive Management Programme. He holds LLB and BL degrees from the University of Benin and the Nigeria Law School respectively.
Analysts, who spoke to THISDAY, expressed confidence in his capacity to provide the right leadership for the Nigeria bourse having been on the council for over a year.