In a country like Nigeria where men dominate the socio-political and economic spheres of life, it is always fascinating and inspiring to come across women who have managed to secure their own seats at the big boys’ table. One of such women is Mrs. Bola Adesola, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank and one of the few female CEOs heading Nigerian banks today.

Recall that there has been a series of incidents involving Mrs. Adesola’s bank in recent times. Just last week, a mild drama unfolded at the bank’s headquarters when some officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) invaded the bank for some unknown reasons.

Interestingly, as the event generated widespread criticisms, the anti-graft agency quickly exonerated itself from any involvement, stating that it did not authorise the invasion. the agency also vowed to punish all those involved. In the meantime, the details of that event are still shrouded in mystery and shall unfold in due time.

Prior to the EFCC invasion of Standard Chartered Bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had last month imposed a ₦2.4 billion fine on the bank for the role it allegedly played in the MTN Nigeria illegal funds repatriation to South Africa. As we reported, of the four banks that were implicated in the MTN scandal, Standard Chartered received the biggest fine.

The media frenzy that has surrounded these events have also succeeded in drawing Standard Chartered Bank into public consciousness, igniting public curiosity just as many scurry to know more about the executives behind the bank’s affairs.

It is, therefore, in the light of these developments coupled with the fact that she is one of the few female bank CEOs in Nigeria, that we have chosen to profile her as our CEO of the week. Get to know her.

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About Bola Adesola: Her educational background and professional qualifications

Mrs. Bola Adesola (also known by her full name Harriet-Ann Omobolanle Adesola) is a graduate of the University of Buckingham in the United Kingdom, where she studied and graduated with a Law degree. She then returned to Nigeria to study at the Nigeria Law School, qualifying to be called to bar in 1985.

She is an alumna of the Harvard Business School, having undergone an Advanced Management Programme there. Mrs. Adesola also completed the Chief Executive Programme at the Lagos Business School.

Here’s a look at her professional experience

Professionally, Mrs. Adesola has over 25 years of experience in the banking sector. Her career cuts across several financial institutions including Citibank Nigeria (a member of the Citigroup) where she worked for nearly ten years with executive roles in Nigeria and Tanzania.

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In 1999, she became the Managing Director of Kakawa Discount House Limited and helped to drive growth through numerous expansion efforts, including the establishment of Kakawa Asset Management Limited.

Having garnered many years of experience, she headed to First Bank of Nigeria Plc (now FBN Holdings Plc) and in 2005 was appointed an Executive Director in charge of corporate banking. She held that position for five years until 2010 when she resigned for personal reasons.

In March 2011, Mrs. Adesola was appointed as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited. As part of her role as the head of the bank, she has been utilising her exposure and experience in the banking industry to drive growth and lead the bank to success. Note that she is currently a Director also at the bank.

She is a member of different organisations

Considering her numerous accomplishments in the banking industry, it is not surprising that Mrs. Adesola also belongs to numerous financial organisations. For one, she is a member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). She is also a member of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group. In April 2018, she was appointed as Vice Chairman of United Nations Global Compact. Before then, she served as a Director at the organisation since July 2015.

Mrs. Adesola also sits on the boards of many other organisations, including the Women in Management and Business Board, Genevieve Magazine, and the Governing Council of the Development Policy Council, Ibadan. She has contributed immensely towards the development of the Nigerian Money Market, the Interbank Settlement Systems and the Discount House sub-sector.

With all her experience and accomplishments, it would be interesting to see how she handles her bank’s recent brushes with regulators.



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