Demola Sogunle
Dr Demola Sogunle, the Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank

Virtually every young professional aspires to continuously climb the corporate ladder until he or she reaches the highest echelon of corporate decision making. But while the focus is usually on the many benefits that are attached to the CEO’s office, seldom does anyone pause to think about the many responsibilities and expectations of a typical CEO.

The story of Dr Demola Sogunle sheds light on this perspective, as you shall see shortly.

Who is Demola Sogunle?

Dr Demola Sogunle is the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc. He is our corporate personality of the week, thanks in part to his accomplished banking track record and [of course] the recent controversies surrounding both him and the bank he manages.

Born in the year 1965, Dr Demola Sogunle is a 53-year old Nigerian business executive who currently heads one of the biggest companies in the country. He is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan from where he graduated with a First Class (Honours) degree in Agricultural Sciences. He studied for an M.Sc. in Land Resource Evaluation and Management and later bagged a doctorate in the same course – all from the University of Ibadan.

In addition to his many academic qualifications, Dr Sogunle studied for a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in Banking and Finance at the Enugu State University of Technology Business School. He is certified in Treasury Dealership by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). Dr Sogunle is also a Member of the Global Association of Risk Professionals.

A closer look at his accomplished banking career

On January 26th, 2017, Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc announced the appointment of Dr Demola Sogunle as the new Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Bank. He replaced Mrs Sola David-Borha, who had moved on to another appointment within the financial conglomerate.

Before his latest appointment, Dr Sogunle worked his way up the ladder, holding different positions (mostly at Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc) and garnering much-needed professional experience. Listing the positions in descending order, he was the Deputy Chief Executive of the Stanbic IBTC Bank; a position he assumed in December 2015. Before then, he was the Chief Executive Officer of Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, another company within the Stanbic IBTC Group. He held this position for nearly four years, between August 2011 and December 2015.

In the course of his long career at Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Dr Sogunle has also served as the Head of Treasury and Financial Services, Head of Risk Management and the Chief Compliance Officer. He was once responsible for managing Stanbic IBTC Bank’s Correspondent Banking Relationship, as well as overseeing the liability side of the bank’s balance sheet. Similarly, Dr Sogunle was once responsible for overseeing IBTC Chartered Bank’s Money Market desk and Foreign Exchange trading. It was also partly his responsibility to manage portfolios for governments.

As the current Chief Executive Officer of the Stanbic IBTC, it is Dr Sogunle’s responsibility to not only consolidate on the bank’s growth over the years but also ensure increased profitability. Unfortunately for him, he seems to be facing a lot of hurdles as he does this, especially so in 2018 when his bank has twice been ruffled by regulators.

On his run-ins with the authorities

Back in May 2018, Stanbic IBTC Bank was accused of keeping $4.9 million (about N1 billion) outside the Treasury Single Account (TSA). This infraction was discovered by the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee which was investigating the status and level of compliance to the TSA by commercial banks and government agencies. Note that the controversial money in question belonged to the HYPREP (Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project) Account of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

For this, the CEO was summoned before Nigeria’s lower legislative chamber and interrogated by the lawmakers. But he defended himself, arguing that Stanbic IBTC Bank secured a presidential approval before operating the controversial HYPREP account. He was then mandated to provide evidence to support his claim. It is unclear whether he has done that.

Three months after the TSA scandal, Dr Sogunle’s Stanbic IBTC Bank once again became the focus of public attention for the wrong reasons. This time, it was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that was after the company. Stanbic IBTC Bank was fined the sum of N1.8 billion by the apex bank, as punishment for its role in helping MTN Communications Nigeria Limited to illegally repatriate $8.1 billion to its MTN Group Limited between 2008 and 2016.

As we reported, the CBN went ahead to deduct N1.8 billion from Stanbic IBTC Bank’s accounts. This was despite efforts by the commercial bank to exonerate itself from the ‘weighty allegation’ levelled against it in relation to the MTN controversy.

Dr Sogunle’s story exemplifies how CEOs are often made to bear the consequences of actions taken by members of their teams – just as they often take the praise for collective achievements recorded by the entire workforce. It, therefore, goes to show how important the CEO position is, and why it is much more than just the benefits attached to it.

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