Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) named Teklewold Atnafu, former governor of the central bank, as board chairperson of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE). Abiy directly appointed Teklewold even though the naming of top executives and board directors of public enterprises is the mandate of the Public Enterprises Holding & Administration Agency.
Teklewold replaces Fitsum Assefa (PhD), the commissioner of the National Planning & Development Commission, as of February 6, 2020. The new appointment also increased the number of board directors of the Bank by one to nine and made Fitsum stay on as a board director.
Teklewold has arrived on the scene at a time when the Bank is suffering from a liquidity crisis. The Bank's loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 108pc as of June 30, 2019. During the last fiscal year, the Bank mobilised 541 billion Br in deposits, disbursed 201 billion Br in loans and advances, and invested 378.1 billion Br in bonds and bills, which is much higher than its deposit resources.
He will also oversee the Bank, which has been criticised of late for diverting its mission of being a commercial bank into a policy bank by engaging in project financing that requires long-term loans. The Bank is supposed to disburse short-term loans and working capital.
Teklewold, who has a regulatory background, completed his studies in statistics at Addis Abeba University. He did his post-graduate dissertation on building a model for econometric measures of demand and supply of money in Ethiopia. He is the longest-serving governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the regulatory bank, where he served for almost two decades. He was assigned to head the central bank after serving as a vice governor for a year.
While leaving the central bank, Yinager Dessie (PhD) replaced him in mid-2018. He then moved to the Office of the Prime Minister as an advisor. Along with his post at the Prime Minister's Office, he is serving as a board director of the central bank, as well as a member of the Privatization Advisory Council and the National Investment & Job Creation Steering Committee.
Teklewold will chair a board that is composed of Mamo Esmelalem, senior adviser to the Prime Minister, Admasu Nebebe, state minister for Finance, Abraham Belay (PhD), minister of Innovation & Technology, Beyene G. Mesqel, director of the Public Enterprises Holding & Administration Agency and Temesgen Tiruneh, president of Amhara Regional State.
Eyob Tesfaye (PhD), a macroeconomist, Demitu Hambisa, head of the Prime Minister's Office and Cabinet Affairs Minister, and Nebiyou Samuel, former deputy director-general of the then Revenues & Customs Authority, are also members of CBE's board of directors.
Fitsum, who will continue on as a board director, took the chairmanship post last year by replacing Ahmed Abitew. Ahmed assumed the post from Yinager when he was appointed governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia. Before Yinager, Bereket Simon chaired the board for six years.
During the first half of this fiscal year, CBE mobilised 24.6 billion Br in deposits. It was also able to increase its customer base by 1.9 million to 23.5 million during the reporting period. Additionally, it generated 3.1 billion dollars from exports, remittances and other sources.
Teklewold did not respond to calls and text messages from Fortunebefore the paper went to print.