Nigeria: Amidst Merger Talks With Access Bank, Diamond Bank Appoints New Board Chairman

Photo: This Day
Nigeria's Access Bank and Diamond Bank to merge
27 December 2018

The board of directors of Diamond Bank has announced the appointment of Dele Babade as the acting chairman of the board.

A notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Thursday said Mr Babade's appointment followed the resignation of Oluseyi Bickersteth, the immediate past Director/ Chairman of the board.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the immediate past board chairman resigned amidst controversial circumstances in October.

The chairman resigned alongside three non-executive directors of the bank, including Rotimi Oyekanmi, Juliet Anammah and Aisha Oyebode. Although the bank said they resigned "for varied personal reasons, which will include focusing on their priorities," this newspaper gathered that the resignation of the officials followed a protracted dispute involving a major investor, Carlyle Group (NASDAQ CG), over the composition of the board of the bank.

The new appointment is said to be effective from December 24.

Mr Babade, the acting chair, holds Bachelors and Master's degrees in Law from University of London and was called to both the Nigerian and English Bar.

He started his career with Midland Montagu London (the predecessor of HSBC Investment Bank) on the Graduate Training Programme in 1988 and at various times worked in the UK and Greece mainly in Corporate and Merchant Banking. He joined Citibank in 1993 and garnered experience from Citibank's Emerging Markets business focusing on businesses beyond Africa and became Vice President in charge of all cross border/international deals for Africa in 1996.

In 1998, he joined Nomura International in London as a Director for Investment Banking for Africa. After re-joining Citibank in 2000, he was moved to Nigeria and Ivory Coast in 2001 as Executive Director covering Nigeria and West Africa and was a board member of Citibank Nigeria from 2001 to 2006. He also served as Citibank's Director & Regional Head Sub-Sahara Africa Corporate Finance & Investment Banking based in South Africa from 2002 to 2006.

The disclosure said Mr Babade started his own investment advisory firm in 2007 but left briefly to join Ecobank Transnational Inc as Head of Ecobank Capital from 2010 to 2012 and was also a member of the Group Executive Committee, the top executive body for overall direction of the Ecobank Group. Since 2012, he has been running his firm focusing on inward cross border transactions across the African continent.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Africa Risk Capacity Pan African Insurance Company (ARC Ltd) and is also the Chairman of its Finance and Investment Committee. ARC Ltd is a financial affiliate of the African Risk Capacity, a specialised agency of the African Union (AU), an initiative designed to improve current responses to climate-related food security emergencies.

"Mr. Babade was nominated by First Carlyle Growth V ("Carlyle") and his appointment as a Non-Executive Director was approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria effective April 20, 2017," the bank said.

The appointment of a new chair comes amidst plans by the bank to merge with Access Bank. The management of both banks officially announced their proposed merger on December 17.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the first half of 2019.

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