Co-founder and CEO of Thrive Agric, Uka Eje, announced that he would step down as CEO and assume the position of COO as it faces challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He has therefore announced Adia Sowho as interim CEO, while a Chief Financial Officer with significant experience in finance has been appointed by the AgriTech investment firm.
Eje announced in a social media statement on Thursday afternoon, informing investors about the delayed payouts of their investments.
Dear Subscribers and Stakeholders of @thriveagric.
I write to you to share additional news regarding the delayed payouts at Thrive Agric caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
— Uka Eje (@EjeUka) October 8, 2020
Nairametrics reported that on October 2nd, a Thrive Agric customer identified on Twitter as @theprincelyX, took to the social media platform to call out the company for holding on to his investments. He claimed the company owes him almost a million naira, and he has been told to wait till next year to see returns on his investments.
He detailed his plight in a long thread titled ‘THRIVE AGRIC: ANOTHER PONZI SCHEME OR BAD BUSINESS?’
Meanwhile, Leadway Assurance, the insurance company in charge of Thrive Agric’s farms, came forward to say that its services do not cover individual investor’s funds, but only the insured farms and other farm assets.
In his statement today, Mr. Eje said the company has made organizational changes to “steer the business out of her current challenges and prepare Thrive Agric for the future.”
“We have started this process with the support of our investors, particularly Ventures Platform , who has been the epitome of a value-adding investor. I will start first by announcing the new interim CEO, Adia Sowho.
“She is here to guide Thrive Agric through a turnaround exercise so that we survive the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the business,” Eje said.
He also said Adia has years of experience building businesses from scratch and pivoting to scale and has the skills needed to move Thrive Agric past the crisis.
“Adia has a lot of experience with building businesses from the ground up and shaping them to operate at scale. I asked her to support us, recognizing that she has the required expertise to move us past this period successfully.
“I will be stepping down as CEO for the interim, and assuming the position of COO, where, in addition to the attendant duties of the role, I will be Adia’s understudy.
“We have also appointed a Chief Financial Officer who comes with significant experience in finance. We sorely need this experience as Thrive Agric is financing the agricultural value chain and we need to deepen our capabilities in that area,” he said.
Eje also noted that the company realized that it did not have insurance protection for the investors, and hired a new head of Risk Management and Compliance.
“We have also gotten additional legal representation, to better protect us and more efficiently manage our commercial agreements. This is such that Thrive Agric is more exposed to stronger business relationships and fewer counterparty risks,” he added.