Named as one of the top 25 most distinguished Chief Executive Officers of quoted Nigerian companies for the 2015 financial year, Oluwatomi Somefun does not have any question mark about her competence.
As one of the female Chief Executives heading banks in Nigeria, Somefun has in her 7 years of leading Unity Bank Plc, proven her mettle, making it possible for other women to find a smoother path into top executive positions.
Somefun studied the English language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and graduated with her first degree in 1981. Since she had no academic training in accounting, banking or economics, she would later take important professional courses and certifications. She became a Chartered Accountant in 1982 and is currently a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
She also did some graduate studies at the Harvard Business School and the University of Columbia, and attended an international training programme with INSEAD Fontainebleau, in France. First degree or not, Somefun has acquired sufficient training over the years. She is also a member to professional bodies like the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria (BDAN), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the Institute of Directors (IOD), and others.
The almost 4 decades’ journey to becoming the formidable banker she is today, started with a role as Senior Audit Assistant with KPMG from 1982 to 1986. She moved on to Arthur Andersen, still in the capacity of Senior Auditor and spent another couple of years there before leaving in 1989 to join Ventures & Trusts Limited as an Associate. This would be the last step before Somefun started her three decades of banking career which would cut across core sectors like Treasury & Investment Banking, Corporate Banking, Retail and Commercial Banking Operations.
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Mrs Somefun worked with Credit Bank Limited. Later, she moved to the UBA Group. She headed two of UBA Group’s major subsidiaries; serving as the MD/CEO of UBA Capital & Trustee Limited and the Founding Managing Director of UBA Pension Custodian Limited. She served as a Non-Executive Director on the boards of directors of UBA Foundations, UBA Trustees, UBA Nominees and UBA Registrars.
With Unity Bank Nigeria Plc, Somefun served as the Executive Director overseeing the Lagos and South-West Business Directorates, the Financial Institution Division and the Treasury Department of the Bank. This was before August 2015 when she succeeded Mr. Henry James Semenitari in 2015 as Unity Bank’s CEO.
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She is a Member of the Board Finance; General Purpose Committee, Board Risk Management Committee, Board Credit Committee, amongst others.
Within the last seven years, she has reordered Unity Bank to the path of growth and profitability; de-risking the balance sheet, introducing products like UniFi (a mobile banking product with robust digital offerings which now stands as a flagship youth banking product); Corpreneurship (a youth banking initiative that targets entrepreneurship-minded fresh graduates completing the compulsory one-year national youth service).
Under her tenure, Unity Bank also became the first Nigerian Bank to offer Multi-lingual USSD Banking in the three major Nigerian languages. Somefun is helping to drive the bank’s vision of being the bank of choice for all Nigerians.
She piloted the bank through the troubled waters it in 2016 and 2017 when its financials were being bugged with a high volume of non-performing loans borrowed mostly by some former board members, which affected the bank’s capitalisation.
Recognitions and other positions
- Oluwatomi Somefun won the 2019 Top 25 CEOs Next Bulls award in recognition of the bank’s stellar performance on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The award came to her in recognition of the bank’s sterling performance for the year, as its stock appreciated 101.89% in the year, making it one of the best-performing stocks on the NSE.
- She was also listed among the top 25 most distinguished Chief Executive Officers of quoted Nigerian companies for the 2015 financial year.
- She also won the top BusinessDay Top 25 CEOs award in 2019. She was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration (D.BA) by Redeemer’s University (RUN).