The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has refuted claims by some market operators that Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, director general of the capital market, may not retire next year when her tenure expires.
Wole Tokede, an official of the Exchange's corporate affairs department, said the allegations over Mrs. Okereke-Onyuike's retirement are "not true." Mr. Tokede said the recently announced organisational and operational structures by the NSE, which generated worries in the market, have not been implemented.
She's on her way out?
"There is nothing like "automatic fresh term" from the office of director general to that of the group chief executive officer (CEO)," Mr. Tokede said.
He added that his boss' office is still being addressed as the office of "the NSE Director General/CEO, and not Group CEO as purported."
The speculations started after the NSE, last month, in a release signed by Josephine Igbinosun, the company secretary/legal adviser, stated that the Exchange will get a new organisational structure. The transformation "programme, designed to make the Nigerian Stock Exchange ,the leading stock exchange in (the) African region, is being enabled by Accenture," the statement noted.
Ms. Igbinosun added that, under the new structure, the title of the director general will become the group chief executive officer, to be supported by four executive directors.
Also, during the just concluded African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) Conference in Abuja, Mrs. Okereke-Onyuike was appointed as the president of the association for the next two years, heightening fears that she might be sitting tight. This is the second time she will be getting the position within 10 years.
Some market operators had expressed concern over the restructuring process. The chief executive of a portfolio managing firm who spoke on the issue pleaded anonymity because, according to him, "we (stockbrokers) have been warned not to speak to you (journalists) on matters relating to the Exchange's management."
However, he said, "Now that her (Okereke-Onyuike's) office will soon be addressed as the Group Chief Executive Officer, she is going to be on a fresh term. I don't see her retiring as she announced earlier this year. I believe that as her tenure as the director general expires next year, she will start a new term or platform and begin as a Group CEO of the NSE."
He also believes that Mrs. Okereke-Onyuike, with her influence, will convince the council, headed by Aliko Dangote, to allow her spend two to three years in order to stabilise the new structure which she conceived under her tenure. "She will claim that she needs time to groom a successor," he said.
Vote of no confidence
Another source within the market said he doesn't see her leaving because "she has lost a lot of money in the market and also wants to make the money back. She might also not want to go because she believed she brought fame to the capital market before the crisis began, and she thinks she can redeem that image if she stays longer. She wants to get the accolade that the capital market went down during her tenure and also picked up under her."
However, he said that as long as she still remains as the head of the Stock Exchange, a lot of people will not have confidence in the market. "She is too visible; attending all functions. When you are in a regulatory environment like that, you should not be everywhere. You should not be too noticeable dining with the people you are supposed to checkmate, " he added.