The Board of Directors of Diamond Bank Plc has announced the extension of the tenure of its Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Alex Otti for another three years with effect from March 2014. It also announced the appointment of Caroline Anyanwu and Uzoma Dozie, who are both Executive Directors at the bank, as Deputy Managing Directors. This is the first time the bank will appoint Deputy Managing Directors since it was established about 23 years ago. In addition, the bank promoted 473 other members of staff across the bank to higher positions following the conclusion of staff performance evaluation for 2013.
The extension of the Dr. Alex Otti’s tenure is in recognition and appreciation of the impact his leadership has had on the bank since March 2011. In his first three years, Dr. Otti focused on steadying the bank which was reeling from the effects of the global financial crises of 2008/2009, had declined in size, and lost market share to competition. The bank was also confronted with the challenge of raising additional capital to meet the new Capital Adequacy Ratio required for the “International Banking License” issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
These efforts have started to pay off. In 2012, International Finance Corporation, IFC, invested $70 million in Tier II capital after an extensive due diligence exercise on the bank. Financial performances in 2012 and 2013 show that the bank has regained market share leading to its being named as one of the 8 systemically important banks by the CBN. The bank is also back to profitability after the loss of over N16 billion declared in 2011 financial year occasioned by non-performing loan write-offs, and write down in the value of assets. The business of the bank is now more sustainable and the bank believes it will continue to build on the hard work that generated profits of N28.36 billion and N33.25 billion in 2012 and 2013 respectively. In his short stint, he has overseen the doubling of the assets of the bank which stood at over N1.3 trillion in December 2013, and has redefined the image of the bank from a conservative stodgy outlook to a more vibrant business partner for individuals, small businesses and big corporates. In 2013, he guided the bank to establish physical presence in London with the opening of a UK office, venturing outside West Africa for the first time and signifying its intent to achieve global relevance in the future. The board is pleased to note that as at end of March 2014, Diamond Bank is one of few international banks with profitable subsidiaries in all countries where it has presence.
Dr. Alex Otti, who is also the Chairman of Committee of Bank CEOs in Nigeria, has over 25 years industry experience in the Nigerian Banking Sector, having started his career in Citibank in 1989. Since then he has held senior level and executive positions in United Bank for Africa, and was an Executive Director in First Bank Plc from where he was appointed the Group Managing Director of Diamond Bank.
As part of its commitment to grow talents from within, the board has approved the appointment two Deputy Managing Directors from amongst the existing Executive Directors. Caroline Anyanwu who is the Chief Risk Officer is one of those to step into the role of a Deputy Managing Director. Before her appointment as an Executive Director in Diamond Bank, she has had over two decades of industry experience spanning Oceanic Bank, UBA, Diamond Bank and Finbank. The board is convinced that the experience she brings to the role will help position the bank to confront the challenges of modern banking under Basel III framework.
Uzoma Dozie is a long time employee of the Diamond Bank since joining from Guaranty Trust Bank in the 1990s. He is currently the Executive Director in charge of Retail Banking, a business segment where the bank sees the major growth opportunities in the years ahead. The board has noted that it expects him to harness the retail banking experiences of the past few years and focus these to bring the banks retail banking to prominence and dominance.
The Board believes that with these appointments and announcements, the bank is poised to consolidate on its achievements in the past 3 years. During the extended mandate, it will be relying on the executive management team to deliver on the five year strategic growth plan for which a preliminary assessment is due in December 2014 and final assessment in December 2016. Beyond this, Management is to focus on growing shareholder value over the long term and build a well-capitalized bank that can stand the test of anticipated or unanticipated industry and economic shocks. As the bank continues to grow its retail franchise and consolidate on its other businesses, some attention will also be paid to continental expansion, staying within its model of retaining business presence only in locations that meet minimum “return on capital invested” threshold.