The Nigerian business community was thrown into pandemonium last Friday when the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, made an unexpected announcement revoking the operating license of Skye Bank Plc.
As Nairametrics exclusively reported, the CBN also gave reasons for its decision to liquidate the corporate entity, explaining that Skye Bank Plc needs urgent recapitalisation which the shareholders are unable to provide, even as the apex bank is no longer keen on aiding by providing liquidity support.
Since the news broke last week, much attention has been on the bank which has since been renamed Polaris Bank Limited. But little has been said about the company’s board of directors, particularly the MD/CEO, Adetokunbo Abiru, who was appointed in 2016 to try and salvage the bank’s critical condition.
Interestingly, Mr. Abiru will continue to oversee the affairs of Polaris Bank Limited, which was created by the apex bank in consultation with the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and positioned to serve as a bridge bank; to be recapitalised and sold by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.
A failed CEO?
While Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru is most definitely not a failure, he and his team apparently failed in the mission to save Skye Bank Plc from the same trouble that cost his predecessor, Mr. Timothy Oguntayo, his job. This is a glaring fact, despite CBN’s statement saying otherwise. Yet, the apex bank has decided to retain him (alongside other members of the board), to continue the leadership of Polaris Bank.
“Given the good performance of the board and management, the CBN shall retain them. In addition, all employees of Skye Bank shall be absorbed by Polaris Bank under a new contract unless any employee decides to opt out.” – CBN
Perhaps there is another way to view Mr Abiru’s performance as CEO of Skye Bank; it is not entirely his fault that the bank could not survive its many troubles. After all, the bank was already faced with serious challenges long before he came on board. But then he was brought in to change things for the better and accelerate growth. Unfortunately, none of these happened.
That said, there is more to the CEO than you probably already know. For that reason, we have chosen to profile him as our corporate personality of the week. Get to know him.
About Adetokunbo Mukhail Abiru, the CEO of Polaris Bank
Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru is a business executive and former politician who was born in 1964. His popularity grew following his 2011 appointment as the Lagos State Commissioner of Finance under former Governor, Babatunde Fashola.
He is an alumnus of the Lagos State University from where he graduated with Honours in Economics. He also underwent an Advanced Management Programme at the Harvard Business School and later bagged a Senior Management certification from the Lagos Business School. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), as well as an honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
A quick overview of his banking career
With his twenty years’ plus experience in the Nigerian banking industry, Mr. Adetokunbo Mukhail Abiru is an accomplished professional. He started out at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), where he worked for about a decade before moving on to First Bank of Nigeria Limited. He then spent fourteen years at the bank, where he later rose to the position of an Executive Director in charge of Corporate Banking. He resigned from First Bank Nigeria Limited in 2016.
Note that Mr. Abiru put a hold on his banking career between 2011 and 2013 to enable him to serve as Commissioner of Finance in the Lagos State Government. But this was a temporary decision because he later resigned his appointment and went back to First Bank. He is credited with lots of accomplishments during his time as Commissioner of Finance in Lagos State. One of such is the effective harmonisation of the state’s tax system.
He assumed his current position in July 2016, an appointment that was elongated earlier this year. Unfortunately, he could not rectify Skye Bank’s financial troubles, even though he most certainly must have tried. Now, it will go down in history that it was under his leadership as CEO that Skye Bank ceased to exist.
Note that asides his banking engagements and political appointments, Mr. Abiru has also sat as a member on the board of directors of some other companies. For example, he was a Non-Executive Director at FBN Merchant Bank Limited, as well as a Non-Executive Director at Airtel Mobile Networks Limited.
In the meantime, Nairametrics will be observing to see how he performs at Polaris Bank Limited, between now and when AMCON will decide to sell the entity to a new buyer.