Finance experts laud Ebenezer Onyeagwu appointment as Zenith chief

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Finance experts have said that the appointment if Ebenezer Onyeagwu as Zenith bank chief as a right step for the bank. They are of the view that the incoming Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director has a strong profile, expertise and experience relevant to take the group to a new height.

Zenith International Bank Plc. has in the week announced appointment of Ebenezer Onyeagwu as it new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. The bank disclosed this in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday. It, however, said the appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and would become effective from June 1.

Speaking to analysts, Jide Famodun, a senior financial consultant with MarketForces Africa said; “Well, succession planning is key to sustenance of corporate performance. What Zenith has done is simply forward looking way of dealing with issues as they arise. In this regard, the bank policy is clear. The management has always look inward for such strategic appointment and the market as whole won`t expect anything less”.

“The incoming Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director has strong profile, expertise and experience relevant to take Zenith to its new height. He has been around for a while and understands the business of the group. The Board wouldn`t have put him forward if he lacks relevant exposure, capability and knowhow to sail”, Famodun added.

In the notice, Onyeagwu will replace Peter Amangbo, whose tenure will expire on May 31, 2019. Amangbo took over from Godwin Emefiele mid-year in 2014 when Emefiele left Federal appointment as the CBN Governor. Meanwhile, Onyeagwu has been Zenith Bank’s Deputy Managing Director since October 2016 and has spent 17 years working with the bank.

The bank said that the appointment was consistent with its tradition and succession strategy of grooming leaders from within. Onyeagwu, who is a graduate of accounting from Auchi Polytechnic, began his career at the defunct Financial Merchant Bank in 1991 and later held several management positions in the erstwhile Citizens International Bank Limited until 2002 when he joined Zenith Bank. He obtained a postgraduate diploma in Financial Strategy and a certificate in Macroeconomics from the University of Oxford.

Head of Corporate Communications at the bank, Marcel Eguabor who spoke to Business Hallmark in a telephone chat said that the incoming Chief Executive, Ebenezer Onyeagwu is cut-out for the job due to his years of experience and as such he would complement the work already done by his predecessors.

He said: “There are no worries. Everyone is excited. Ebenezer Onyeagwu is an in-house person, not an outsider. He has been tested and trusted and he will even take the bank to greater heights. His record is there for everyone to see. Besides, this is not a political appointment. It is a professional one. He is the right person to take-over. He was the deputy MD. It is only normal for him to step in as the new MD.”

Zenith Bank Plc closed the financial year 2018 result with total assets of N5.96 trillion, with N6.20 kobo earnings per ordinary share. It may be recalled that in mid-2014 when Peter Amangbo took over as the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO) Zenith group, the bank’s total assets was valued at N3.2 trillion and shareholders’ funds was N492.38 billion.