Why Funke Osibodu is leaving Union Bank PLC

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Sunday, July 22, 2012 9:11 PM
The current Group Managing Director of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mrs Funke Osibodu, will be exiting towards the end of this year, after slightly over three years of transformation that has put the bank back on a sound footing.
 Sources said that she may also continue with the board in a non-executive capacity to lend advisory support to the incoming executive.
Four new non executive Directors will also be appointed (subject to regulatory approval) whilst existing Executive Directors will be continuing in the bank. The plan is to leverage on the excellent transformation work done so far, retain existing institutional memory whilst building a world class commercial banking institution.
Sources in the bank confirmed that having fully completed her assignment; she will hand over in three months time to a new Managing Director , prior to her proceeding on leave to the end of the year. The new MD is to lead the remaining transformation agenda of the institution. This is however, subject to submitting same for regulatory approval.
Union Bank under Osibodu survived its most challenging era in history, coming after a debt crisis and corporate governance issues, which brought the Nigerian banking industry close to collapse in 2009. This had prompted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to fire the former management of Union Bank alongside those of other seven banks. Osibodu was appointed the MD/CEO in 2009. She led the bank's turnaround - assets recovery, recapitalization, rebranding and restored customers' and investors' confidence in the organisation.
Union Bank's balance sheet for the 2011 financial year through December, showed positive net assets of N197 billion compared with negative net assets of N115.7 billion a year earlier. It is also believed that the first quarter March 2012 and second quarter June 2012 results of the bank are impressive.
Mrs Osibodu led a process that for the first time in the history of Nigeria culminated in the largest international consortium of foreign investors investing $500 million in a Nigerian bank, and in Nigeria despite the world economic crisis. Analysts attributed the investments by the core investors to the bright prospects of the bank as inspired by the Osibodu-led management. Union Bank is the only bank out of the eight intervened banks that was able to retain its stand alone status and name.
Union Bank’s stock, which is trading at N4.24 per share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) as at today, achieved its longest winning streak in 10 weeks on July 18, gaining 22.6 per cent to N4.24 at the market close, the longest streak of gains since May 7. This was attributed to rising investor confidence. 
Those who are buying the stock (Union Bank) are doing so on speculation that the bank will make a turnaround.'' Raheem Mohammed , a broker at Kundila Finance Ltd., told reporters.
Analysts said Mrs Osibodu leveraged her hands on experience in business turnaround to return Union Bank to its pride of place as one of Nigeria 's most formidable financial institutions.
Mrs Osibodu was the Managing Director of MBC International Bank and Ecobank Nigeria Plc and later joined the board of the Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI).
She was early this year named by Financial Times of London as one of World’s 50 Leading Businesswomen. She was the only African woman and Nigerian that made the list. According to the global jury of experts constituted by FT, she was chosen in recognition of her achievements at Union Bank. The jury said, ``Osibodu was responsible for strengthening the management of the bank, improving discipline and ensuring transparency.”
The industry will be watching her next move with keen interest; no doubt she will be courted by boards of leading companies to serve on advisory capacity especially in this time of worldwide economic downturn.
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