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Highest paid Nigerian MD/CEOs in 2020

The MD/CEOs of the 30 most capitalized companies (NSE 30) on the NSE earned about N5 billion in salaries in 2020.



The Managing Director/ Chief Executive is the most senior executive position in the company, charged with the responsibility of piloting the firm’s affairs and ensuring profitability and growth.

CEOs are the ones at the helms of affairs and therefore, receive criticisms for poor performances as well as credit for stellar company performances.

It is a fact that CEOs are also the highest-paid staff of every company. In Nigeria, the CEOs of the major companies are remunerated handsomely for their efforts. However, just as much as these companies have ranks in terms of asset size and profitability, so also do their CEOs’ earnings have ranks.

In typical Nairametrics fashion, we bring to you a list of the highest-ranking bank CEOs for 2020 based on their executive compensation (exec comps). The MD/CEOs of the 30 most capitalized companies (NSE 30) on the NSE earned about N5 billion in salaries in 2020 compared to N4.6 billion in the previous year.

The data was sourced from the published audited accounts of the companies and verified by Nairametrics Research.

Jordi Borrut Bel (Nigerian Breweries) – N379.4 million


Heineken scoops more Nigerian Breweries shares in insider disclosure


Mr Jordi Borrut Bel is the Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Breweries, appointed into the position in 2018.

  • Prior to his position as the MD, He was Managing Director at Brarudii SA, Manager-Project Distribution at Heineken Slovensko AS, Brand Manager at Heineken France SAS and Director-Sales & Distribution at Heineken España SA.
  • His last position before joining Nigerian Breweries was the Managing Director of Heineken Burundi.
  • Mr Jordi earned a sum of N379.4 million as annual remuneration in 2020, a 40% increase compared to N271 million received in 2019.
  • Nigerian Breweries posted a profit after tax of N7.53 billion in 2020, representing a 53.3% decline compared to N16.1 billion recorded in the previous year.

READ: COVID-19, VAT, FX scarcity adversely impacted our operations in 2020 – Nigerian Breweries boss says

Segun Agabje (GT Bank) – N399.7 million

GTB releases FY result for 2019, grows PBT by 7.5%, GT bank obtains approval-in-principle from CBN to operate as Holding Company

Segun Agbaje is the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, the most capitalized financial institution listed on the NSE. He has over 19 years experience in investment and international banking.

  • Prior to joining GT Bank in 1991 as a pioneer staff, he worked with Ernst & Young, San Francisco, USA. He rose to the position of Executive Director in GT Bank in January 2000.
  • He was appointed Deputy Managing Director in August 2020, due to his diverse background and experience in almost all areas of the bank’s activities including commercial banking, investment banking, treasury, corporate planning and strategy, settlements and operations.
  • Mr Agbaje serves on the boards of several other notable companies including Guaranty Trust Bank (Ghana) Limited, Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) Limited, and Guaranty Trust Bank (UK) Limited. He is also a Director on MasterCard Advisory Board Middle East and Africa.
  • He was elected to the Board of Directors of PepsiCo in 2020 and is set to take a bow as the MD of GT Bank.
  • He is however expected to take a position on the Board of the newly restructured holding company.
  • Mr Agbaje earned a sum of N399.7 million as his annual salary for the year 2020.
  • GT Bank posted a profit after tax of N201.4 billion in 2020 from N196.8 billion in 2019.

READ: Segun Agbaje: GTBank CEO gets ready to take a bow

Michel Pucheros (Dangote Cement) – N448 million

Mr Michel Pucheros, who was formerly with Lafarge Africa, earned a sum of N448 million from Dangote Cement in the year 2020. He is the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the most capitalized company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

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  • He was appointed to the position effective January 2020, after resigning from Lafarge Africa in the same year.
  • According to information on the website of Dangote Cement, Michel has more than 20 years experience in the cement industry having served in various capacities at Lafarge.
  • He served as the President & Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Halla Cement; Director of Strategy and Systems at Lafarge Gypsum.
  • He also served as the Chief Executive Officer of Bamburi Cement and Hima Cement; and Chairman of Mbeya Cement in Tanzania.
  • He resigned from Lafarge in January 2020 to join competitor brand, Dangote Cement Plc and was succeeded by Mr Khaled Abdelaziz El Dokani, the former country CEO of Lafarge Holcim Iraq.
  • Dangote Cement recorded a 38% increase in profit after tax from N200.5 billion in 2019 to N276.1 billion in 2020.

READ: Real Estate investment and infrastructure spending drove our profits up – Dangote Cement

Austin Avuru/RT Brown (Seplat Petroleum) – N484 million

Austin Avuru retires as CEO of Seplat petroleum, to receive huge benefits, Seplat to acquire more oil & gas assets after Eland's acquisition

Augustine Avuru is a Co-Founder of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc. He was the CEO of the company until 31st July 2020, when he resigned from his position and was replaced by Roger Thompson Brown.

  • Before becoming the CEO of Seplat in 2010, Mr Avuru was the Managing Director at Platform Petroleum Limited, a company he founded.
  • He had also spent over a decade at Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), holding different positions including that of wellsite geologist, production seismologist, and reservoir engineer.
  • He also worked as an exploration manager and technical manager with Allied Energy Resources in Nigeria, a pioneer deepwater operator, where he spent ten years before starting Platform Petroleum Limited in 2002.
  • It is unclear how much of the remuneration was earned by Austin Avuru or Roger Brown, however, the CEO of the company earned a sum of N484 million in the year under review.
  • According to information on the company’s website, the new CEO joined Seplat as Chief Financial Officer in 2013 and has grown through the ranks since then.
  • Mr Brown, prior to joining Seplat, had held the position of Managing Director of Oil and Gas EMEA for Standard Bank Group. He has advised on some of the largest and highest-profile transactions that have occurred in Nigeria in recent years.
  • Seplat however, posted a loss of N30.7 billion in 2020.

READ: From employee to billionaire founder, Austin Avuru, the CEO of Seplat Petroleum

Ferdinand Moolman (MTN Nigeria) – N567 million

Mr Ferdinand Moolman is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Nigeria’s biggest telecommunication firm. A position he attained in December 2015 before being moved to Group Chief Risk Officer in March 2021.

  • He was promoted to the position of CEO on December 1, 2015, as part of a major reshuffling of the telco’s operating structure which was aimed at strengthening operational oversight, leadership, governance, and regulatory compliance.
  • He was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) before he was promoted in 2015. A position he occupied immediately he was transferred from MTN Iran where he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO).
  • According to information obtained from a disclosure signed by the company secretary, Mr Moolman joined MTN in 2002 and has held several senior positions within the Group, in Nigeria and Iran.
  • He earned a sum of N567 million in 2020, 3.2% reduction compared to N586 million recorded in the previous year.
  • It is worth noting that Mr Ferdinand Moolman was also the highest-earning CEO in 2019, and is currently occupying the position of MTN Group Chief Risk Officer.
  • He was replaced by Mr. Karl Toriola, who is now the new CEO of MTN Nigeria.
  • MTN Nigeria grew its profit marginally by 0.9% to stand at N205.2 billion.

READ: MTN Nigeria CEO reaffirms telco’s commitment to invest N600 billion on core CAPEX

Bubbling under

Khaled Abdel Aziz El Dokani (Lafarge Africa) – N335 million


Baker Magunda (Guinness Nigeria) – N255 million

Mr Carl Cruz (Unilever) – N245 million

Ebenezer Onyeagwu (Zenith Bank) – N230 million

Mr Imrane Barry (Total Nigeria) – N215 million

Nairametrics Research team tracks, collates, maintains and manages a rich database of macro-economic and micro-economic data from Nigeria and Africa. Our analysts share some of the data collated on Nairametrics, using formats such as docs, tables and charts etc. The team also publishes research based analysis as articles on a regular basis.

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    Corporate Nigeria spends N31.22 billion on travel expenses in 2020

    According to data obtained by Nairametrics Research, travel expenses of major corporations in Nigeria dipped by 36.97% in 2020.



    Corporate Nigeria represented by the largest listed companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange experienced a reduction in business travel expenses in the year 2020.

    According to data obtained from the audited financial statements of the top 30 companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) known as the NSE-30 and verified by Nairametrics Research, travel expenses dipped by 36.97% from N49.54 billion recorded in 2019 to N31.22 billion in 2020.

    Travel expenses include flight tickers, hotel expenses, cost of renting and maintaining private jets, local interstate and intrastate transportation etc.

    • Of the 30 companies considered, only 3 of them increased their travel expenses in 2020. Notably, Guinness increased its travel expenses by 283.1% from N261.4 million to N1 billion in the review period.
    • Nascon Allied Industries and Presco Plc incurred a sum of N91.8 million and N2.02 billion in travel expenses, representing a 125.2% and 33.7% increase respectively.
    • On the other hand, MTN Nigeria recorded the highest decline in travel expenses, reduced by 79.9% to stand at N964 million as against N4.79 billion recorded in 2019. Stanbic IBTC followed with a decline of 60.95% to stand at N676 million.
    • It is worth noting, that some companies were not included in this study as they did not disclose their travel expenses during the period under review.

    READ: Banks earn N216 billion in E-banking income amidst threat from challenger banks

    Why the drop?

    The drop in travel expenses was expected as the entire private sector experienced a lockdown for most parts of the year due to Covid-19. The Federal Government introduced movement restrictions on land, sea, and air commute in response to the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

    • This resulted in the cancellation of business travel expenses across the commercial and political nerve centres of the country. Bearing the brunt of this cut in expenses were airlines, hotels, and the entire travel industry who suffered massive revenue losses.
    • The travel industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors due to the COVID-19 outbreak with lockdowns, travel bans, restrictions, and quarantines, which have had a severe impact on business travel for corporate entities in Nigeria.
    • High travel cost implications, hotel rates, and reduction of airline services also made companies resort to phasing out in-person meetings and business travel, as it is more affordable and productive to go digital.
    • The deployment of technology has helped companies cut their travel expenses since part of the key reasons for business travel is for conferences, meeting suppliers and customers. Going forward, video calls show strong potential to replace in-person meetings, resulting in fewer business travels.
    • Additionally, business travels that are meant for training and other learning activities can be done through e-learning.
    • The consistency of corporate entities in adopting technology by going digital will likely continue to reduce business travel expenses of corporations in the country.

    READ: Nigerian corporates spend N1 trillion on capital investment in 2020

    Gains and losses

    On the flip side, online virtual work from home tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom recorded massive revenue boost as the private sector and even government relied on them to connect with clients, employees and other stakeholders.

    • Unfortunately, Nigerian businesses, particularly the tech sector failed to take advantage of the travails of the hospitality sector losing much of this revenue to the likes of Microsoft, Google, Netflix, and Zoom. Nevertheless, other Nigerian tech companies, especially in the entertainment, payment, savings and loans space all recorded a significant boost in topline revenues.

    The top 5 spenders

    The increase or drop in travel expenses for some of the companies under review suggests the approach management took in response to the Covid-19 lockdown. While some reacted by going completely remote as indicative of their numbers, others continued spending, perhaps due to an inefficient cost structure that could not be scaled down despite the imposed lockdown.


    Access Bank (N7.15 billion)

    Access Bank Plc spent a total of N7.15 billion on business travel expenses in 2020, representing a reduction of 31.9% compared to N10.5 billion recorded in the previous year.

    • The tier-1 bank accounted for 22.9% of the total travel expenses incurred by the top 30 companies on the NSE.
    • The bank’s total asset as of December 2020, stood at N8.67 trillion, representing the highest on the NSE.

    UBA (N4.94 billion)

    United Bank for Africa incurred a sum of N4.94 billion on business travels in the year 2020. Its travel expenses reduced by 30.1% compared to N7.06 billion recorded in 2019.

    • Its expenses accounted for 15.8% of the total recorded by companies under consideration.
    • UBA recorded a growth of 27.7% in profit after tax from N89.1 billion recorded in 2019 to N113.8 billion in 2020.

    FBN Holdings (N3.51 billion)

    FBN Holdings the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria, one of the major financial institutions in the country, spent a total of N3.51 billion on travel expenses in the year under review.

    • The tier-1 bank reduced its business travel expenses by 48.24% from N6.78 billion recorded in 2019 to N3.51 billion.
    • Also, FBN Holdings accounted for 11.2% of the total business travel expense of the companies under consideration.
    • It is worth noting that FBN Holdings classified its travel expenses as passages and travels.


    Dangote Cement (N2.11 billion)

    The most capitalized company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, valued at N3.7 trillion spent a total of N2.11 billion on business travel expenses in 2020.

    • The foremost cement manufacturer in Nigeria recorded a 13.8% decline in travel expenses from N2.45 billion recorded in 2019 to stand at N2.11 billion in 2020.

    Presco Plc (N2.02 billion)

    Presco Plc, a fully-integrated agro-industrial establishment specializing in the cultivation, extraction, refining, and fractionation of crude palm oil into finished products, spent a total of N2.02 billion on travel expenses in 2020.

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    Its travel expenses in 2020, represent a 33.71% increase compared to N1.51 billion recorded in the previous year.

    • It also accounted for 6.5% of the total travel expenses recorded by the companies under consideration.

    Bubbling under

    • Zenith Bank – N1.88 billion
    • Seplat – N1.26 billion
    • Guinness – N1 billion
    • MTN Nigeria – N964 million
    • Fidelity Bank – N964 million

    Note: Fidelity Bank classified its expenses as travelling and accommodation, while MTN Nigeria as Trainings, travels and entertainment cost.

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    New Management set to take charge at GT Bank as list of appointment and exit leaks

    A major Management restructuring is at the final stages of completion at GTB, one of Nigeria’s most respected commercial banks.



    GTBank declares dividend payment for FY 2019

    A major Management restructuring is at the final stages of completion at Guaranty Trust Bank, one of Nigeria’s most respected commercial banks.

    Sources with knowledge of the matter informed Nairametrics that a clean sweep of top management staff above the age of 45 has been effected as current maverick MD/CEO Segun Agbaje prepares to retire as MD/CEO of the bank and proceed as MD/CEO of the bank’s Holding Company.

    Segun Agbaje is expected to leave following the end of his 10-year tenure as Managing Director of the bank.

    According to multiple sources, the bank is set to announce Miriam Olusanya as its new Managing Director. We understand the Central Bank has already been notified and a formal announcement could be made anytime soon.

    READ: BankTech War: Segun Agbaje says GTBank not afraid of Fintech

    In an internal memo dated April 28, 2021, and seen by Nairametrics, Thomas John has been appointed Managing Director of GTB West Africa while Bayo Veracruz was appointed Managing Director of GTB East Africa.

    Others are Olayinka Odusote as Divisional Head, Digital Banking, an important position considering the bank’s ambition to transform into a full-fledged digital bank. Ijeoma Esemudje is appointed Divisional Head Corporate Bank Mainland & Agric.

    As part of the management restructuring already in effect, two of the oldest and revered Executive Directors of the bank have already been asked to retire after illustrious years of service to the bank. Nairametrics also understands 4 General Managers out of 9 have also been asked to exit the bank paving the way for younger executives mostly under the age of 45 to take charge.

    A list of appointments and exits purportedly approved by the board is already being circulated across several social media groups on WhatsApp and Telegram. Nairametrics cannot confirm the authenticity of the list and although officials at the bank did not confirm the list, they stated that a press release would soon be made to announce the appointments.

    READ: GTB, Zenith, UBA lead banks with highest social media followers 

    Recruitment vs Selection Process?

    In September 2020, Agbaje disclosed during the bank’s investor earnings call that GTBank was already looking for its next Managing Director. According to him, five of the bank’s Executive Directors were in line for the top job and were at the concluding stages of the recruitment process.

    He said:

    “What we are looking for now is a Managing Director for Guaranty Trust Bank Nigeria. The process has started; we have 5 Executive Directors and so all of them are going through the process at the moment.

    We are working with a consulting firm in the UK ….. at the end of this process which will end at the beginning of the fourth quarter, we will have a Managing Director for GT Bank Nigeria.”

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