BUSI­NESS High ex­pec­ta­tion as Lamis Dikko be­comes chair­man of Unity Bank

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Hamisu Muham­mad

The re­ports, last week, which hinted that the name of the erst­while Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Unity Bank, Al­haji Lamis Shehu Dikko, was sent to the Cen­tral Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for ap­proval as the new sub­stan­tive chair­man of the board of the bank was greeted across the in­dus­try with ex­cite­ment and hopes for the bank’s fu­ture.

Unity Bank has of­ten been re­ferred to as the ‘sleep­ing gi­ant’ of the Nige­rian bank­ing in­dus­try. Its huge po­ten­tials have not yet found ef­fec­tive ex­pres­sion and it is in an ap­par­ent fresh move to dig deep and un­lock these that the bank be­gan a re­struc­tur­ing ex­er­cise in 2013, ac­cord­ing to re­ports from the bank.

None of the changes in its or­gan­i­sa­tional or man­age­ment struc­ture has, how­ever, raised more in­ter­est than Lamis’ ‘home­com­ing’.

The po­si­tion of chair­man of the bank is a very pow­er­ful one. The Board of Unity Bank is the high­est de­ci­sion mak­ing body and is in charge of poli­cies that guide the Ex­ec­u­tive Man­age­ment and rat­i­fies ini­tia­tives of the Man­age­ment. It is also di­rectly in­volved in the Man­age­ment of var­i­ous as­pects of the Bank’s ac­tiv­i­ties through var­i­ous com­mit­tees.

Al­haji Dikko re­signed from the bank in 2010, as the Group Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Cen­tral Re­gion, to run for the Nige­rian Se­nate.

Be­fore then, he was the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor, Credit Risk Man­age­ment, a po­si­tion he moved into im­me­di­ately af­ter the con­sol­i­da­tion ex­er­cise that saw In­tercity Bank, of which he was then Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, merged with eight other banks to form Unity Bank in 2006.

In­tercity Bank was the lead bank in the merger process and this put him squarely in the lead in the de­vel­op­ment of the merger strat­egy and its im­ple­men­ta­tion. Be­ing in the front seat at that pe­riod gave him the good un­der­stand­ing of the sys­tem and in­sti­tu­tion he helped cre­ated. His knowl­edge, no doubt, will be of im­mense value at this pe­riod of Unity Bank’s de­vel­op­ment.

Dikko, who is cur­rently the chair­man of the In­fra­struc­ture Bank, over­saw the re-brand­ing of the bank used to be known as Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Bank. He is also a Di­rec­tor at En­ter­prise Bank which rose from the ashes of the de­funct Spring Bank and which within a pe­riod of about 3 years af­ter its na­tion­al­iza­tion, moved from a pre­car­i­ous loss po­si­tion to a profit mak­ing po­si­tion of well over N11 bil­lion as at 2012 and an im­prove­ment of loan-tode­posit ra­tio from less than five per cent, well in ex­cess of 60 per cent, fac­tors which have led the As­set Man­age­ment Com­pany of Nigeria (AMCON) to view it as the most equipped among the three na­tion­alised banks for its divest­ment. He is also a Di­rec­tor at Legacy Pen­sion among oth­ers.

Among his many qual­i­fi­ca­tions, Dikko holds a BSC De­gree in Eco­nom­ics from Queen Mary’s Col­lege, Univer­sity of Lon­don and is an Alumni of the Havard Busi­ness School for Man­age­ment De­vel­op­ment.

For a bank that had set for it­self a new goal of launch­ing it­self into the sec­tor’s ma­jor league, his re­turn will be a wel­come boost that the new Man­age­ment team will need to con­clude far reach­ing ac­tions.

Some cus­tomers who spoke to Daily Trust ex­pressed their con­fi­dence that the banks will wit­ness change in its op­er­a­tions with Dikko in charge.

Ac­cord­ing to Idris Ibrahim, a cus­tomer with the bank in Abuja, the bank has nu­mer­ous loyal cus­tomers but it is not in­vest­ing in up­grad­ing the In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy to be at par with its com­peti­tors, adding that with the com­ing of Dikko the story will change.

Also speak­ing, Mrs Grace Dan As­abe said al­though she didn’t know much about the new chair­man, she hopes that the man will take the bank to the greater height “be­cause I don’t have any other bank than Unity Bank”.

For now, it is the hope of many that the ex­pec­ta­tions hinged on Dikko’s ten­ure will soon trans­late into con­crete achieve­ments for the bank .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.