Change Of Baton: Ademola Set To Exit As Sterling Bank CEO, Abubakar Suleiman Is Incoming CEO

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Sterling Bank Plc on Thursday announced that its founding Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Yemi Adeola, has notified the board of directors of his retirement with effect from April 1, after over 14 years of service on the board.

The bank in a statement also disclosed that Adeola would be succeeded by Mr. Abubakar Suleiman (Abu), who is currently the Executive Director, Finance & Strategy, a position he has held since May 2012.

Adeola’s banking career started with the then Nigeria International Bank Limited, now Citibank Nigeria Limited, in 1988, where he served in various capacities and rose to the position of Executive Director in 1998, a position which made him one of the youngest officers and one of the first Nigerian nationals to be appointed in that capacity.

In July 2003, he became the Deputy Managing Director of the legacy Trust Bank of Africa Limited and was instrumental, in 2006, in the formation of Sterling Bank during the banking consolidation exercise.  He served as Integration Director in the immediate post-merger phase and up until 2007 as Executive Director covering Commercial & Institutional Banking and later Corporate Banking prior to becoming CEO.

Commenting on his retirement, the Chairman, Board of Directors of Sterling Bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, said: “In 2008, Yemi was appointed to the role of substantive CEO. Since that appointment, he has overseen a period of strong growth in market share and profitability with the institution moving from the 23rd ranked bank measured by assets to the top half of the domestic banking market.

“Additionally, Yemi and his team have navigated multiple economic and banking credit cycles with great skill, sound judgment and outstanding professionalism, often thriving in the most difficult conditions evidenced by the emergence of the bank as a consolidator in the 2009-2011 cycle despite its modest capital base and distribution footprint at the time, and its continuing success in growing organically thereafter.

“More than anything else, Yemi’s legacy is reflected in the excellent professional reputation of the bank; the stability of its board and management – something rarely seen in merged institutions; and the overall strength of its institutional governance, all of which are achievements that I have no doubt that the new leadership team will build upon and extend even further.”

Equally, Ighodalo welcomed the appointment of Suleiman as the new CEO, saying over the years, he had developed an outstanding strategic and operational track record across all business areas in the bank as well as great relationships with customers and other stakeholders in key areas of the institution.

“Abu is a seasoned executive with exceptional abilities and his emergence underscores the quality of our leadership pipeline at executive level.

“His appointment is a result of a rigorous and wide-reaching process conducted as part of our succession planning and we look forward to him leading our bank through the next stage of its development. Abu’s appointment has already received all mandatory regulatory approvals,” he added.

On his part, Suleiman expressed delight with the appointment.
According to the incoming CEO, over the past decade under Adeola, the bank’s market share has grown significantly.

“And our brand has become established in the marketplace. I look forward to working with the board and my colleagues in management towards building on the excellent foundation already in place to deliver superior value for the benefit of all our stakeholders,” he said.
Also, Adeola said: “Our bank has grown materially in all respects over the past decade moving from being a marginal player on the fringes, to an established operator trusted by millions of people today.

“The achievements highlighted by the chairman in his remarks have required huge personal sacrifice on the part of many people.
“I am extremely grateful to all of them for their support and know that Abu and his team can continue to count on this support in the months and years to come.

“Sterling Bank is well set for the future and I believe that now is the right time for me to step down and pass on the baton to Abu. As a bank, we have done well, are doing well and have great prospects for the future.
“Our institution has the resources both human and material to look forward and write a new chapter in its history.”

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