The management of Skye Bank PLC today announced what it called the voluntary resignation of its top officers. The action followed plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take over the bank due to distress arising from bad loans and insider malpractices by board members.
In a statement, the management said the CBN has approved the appointment of Alhaji M.K Ahmad as the new Chairman of the Board, and Tokunbo Abiru the new Group Managing Director and CEO. Bayo Sanni, Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu and Abimbola Izu retain their positions as Executive Directors.
SaharaReporters learnt that the Chairman of the bank, Tunde Ayeni owed the bank at least N102 billion that had remained unpaid for several years. He was one of those who resigned today.
Mr. Ayeni, who is a close associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, had taken over what used to be Eko Bank, Bond Bank, and Prudent Bank. He then used interbank loans to buy Mainstreet Bank for N135 billion and added it to his collection to create Skye Bank.
Since coming on stream, however, the bank has been consistently abused by its owners, who collect loans without collateral, and use them to fund lavish lifestyles and the acquisition of an assortment of private companies. Ayeni, for example, bought parts of an unbundled electricity company from what used to be the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, using Skye Bank funds. At the last count, he also owned Ibadan and Yola Discos, and also acquired Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and also owned a private jet.
Mr. Ayeni was also a close associate of the late former governor of Bayelsa, Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha, and was linked with money laundering allegations concerning the late governor. It was through Alamieyeseigha that he became close to Mr. Jonathan during his time as deputy governor. Ayeni spent months in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission detention as the agency carried out investigations into the massive theft of Bayelsa State funds, but he was never charged to court.
Other non-executive directors of the bank who owed the bank include Jason Fadeyi, the chairman of Pan Ocean Oil company, who owes N90billion.
Furthermore, several businesses with links to the bank owed large sums to it but refused to service their loans. They include Atlantic Energy, owned by Jide Omokore and fugitive Kola Aluko, which is owing N70b; Oando Oil Company, N20b; and Captain Osa Okunbo. Kola Aluko's brother, Kunle, is among the non-executive directors who purportedly resigned from the bank's board today.
SaharaReporters sources said Heritage Bank, which is co-owned by Mr. Ayeni and Senate President Bukola Saraki, is next in line for a takeover by the Central Bank, which is also looking to force out Oba Otudeko from the board of First Bank of Nigeria due to his indebtedness of about N82billion.
In his letter of resignation today, outgoing MD of Skye Bank, Timothy Ogunoye lamented that his efforts to turn the fortune of the bank was thwarted by forces within and without the bank.
Below is the press release announcing a change of guard at the bank earlier today.
Changes on the Board of Skye Bank Plc.
We wish to inform our stakeholders of recent changes on the Board of the Bank.
Earlier today, the Non-Executive Directors and the two Independent Non-Executive Directors resigned their appointment on the Board as follows:
S/N DIRECTORS CAPACITY
1 Dr. Olatunde Ayeni Non-Executive Director/Chairman
2 Mr. Victor Adenigbagbe Non-Executive Director
3 Dr. Jason Fadeyi Non-Executive Director
4 Mr. Babajide Agbabiaka Non-Executive Director
5 Mr. Victor Odozi Independent Non-Executive Director
6 Mr. Kunle Aluko Non-Executive Director
7 Mr. Abdul Bello Non-Executive Director
8 Mrs. Ammuna Lawan Ali Independent Non-Executive Director
The following Executive Directors also resigned their appointments on the Board with immediate effect:
S/N DIRECTORS CAPACITY
1 Mr. Timothy Oguntayo Group Managing Director/CEO
2 Mrs. Amaka Onwughalu Deputy Managing Director
3 Mr. Dotun Adeniyi Executive Director
4 Mrs. Ibiye Ekong Executive Director
The CBN has approved the appointment of Alhaji M.K Ahmad as the new Chairman of the Board, while Mr. Tokunbo Abiru has been appointed as the new Group Managing Director and CEO. Messrs. Bayo Sanni, Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu and Abimbola Izu will continue in office as Executive Directors of the Bank.
The former leadership of the Bank voluntarily resigned their positions in order to pave the way for a new team to further the new strategic direction of the Bank in the retail and commercial business space, having laid the foundations and set the necessary processes and structures. In this wise, the challenge of accelerating growth in the new strategic direction becomes more urgent and compelling, given the poor performance that we recorded in the 2015 financial year end, and the attendant challenges.
The Executive Management of the Bank also take the opportunity to most sincerely thank the former Board led by Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, and the former Management team led by Mr. Timothy Oguntayo for their service, sacrifice and dedication to this institution.
As they take their leave, we wish them all the best in their future endeavours.
Please find below the profile of the new Chairman and the new CEO of the Bank.
Alhaji Muhammad K. Ahmad, OON: The new Chairman of the Board
Muhammad K. Ahmad, OON, has about 35 years distinguished experience leading and working in various public sector organizations and financial services institutions in Nigeria. He was the pioneer Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Pension Commission and oversaw the establishment and growth of the Pension industry in Nigeria with over .5 trillion in assets to become a major contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. He is currently the Chairman of the Interim Management Board, International Energy Assurance and is the founder of Jewel Development Foundation, a graduate assistant platform; and Certium Consulting, a strategy advisory and business applications company.
A pioneer staff of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), he rose to become Director/Head of Department and a member of the Interim Management Board. Mr. Ahmad has served on the boards of various corporate and not-for-profit organisations as well as Presidential Committees. Ahmad Chairs the Technical Committee that produced the North East Transformation Strategy (NESTS), a medium term Regional Development Strategy, for the sustainable socio-economic transformation and reconstruction of the Region and currently supervises its implementation.
Alhaji Ahmad is also a member of the Presidential Committee for the North East Intervention (PCNI). Prior to his appointment, he was a Director on the Board of FBN Holdings PLC, where he brought his rich experience in the financial services industry to bear on the institution. He strongly promotes building institutions based on the highest corporate governance and ethical standards and would bring his extensive experience to bear on his role on the board of Skye Bank PLC as Chairman. He has a Masters Diploma in Innovation and Strategy from the University of Oxford and has also attended courses and programmes in various first-rate business and management schools, including Harvard Business School, IMD, and INSEAD. A co-author of the book, “The Extent and Effectiveness of Bank Supervision in Nigeria”, Ahmad is married with children.
Adetokunbo Mukhail ABIRU, FCA: The new Group Managing Director/CEO
Mr. Adetokunbo Mukhail Abiru (Tokunbo), is an alumnus of Harvard Business School (Advanced Management Program) and Lagos Business School (Senior Management Program). He holds a B.Sc (Economics) from Lagos State University and is a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an Honorary Senior Member of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
Tokunbo has had a distinguished career in banking spanning about 26 years, of which his early ten (10) years were spent in the formative years of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc. Thereafter, he spent about Fourteen (14) years with the premier and most valuable banking brand in Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, where he functioned as Executive Director, Corporate Banking between 2013 and 2016.
Equally during his banking career, he was at various times between 2013-16 a Non – Executive Director in the following companies: Airtel Mobile Networks Limited; FBN Capital Limited (now FBN Merchant Bank Limited); and FBN Bank Sierra Leone Limited.
Tokunbo was the Honorable Commissioner of Finance for Lagos State Government (2011.2013), the economic capital of Nigeria, during the dynamic and transformational leadership of Governor Babatunde R. Fashola (SAN). He is happily married to Mrs. Feyisola Abiru, the Managing Director of Home & You Limited, a truly indigenous furniture manufacturing company, and they are blessed with children.
Thank you all.