Abdullahi Replaces Babalola as Chairman of FBN Holdings

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the appointment of Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi as non-executive Director of FBN Holding Plc and Chairman of the company to replace Mr. Remi Balalola who resigned on Friday.

The CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, disclosed in a statement that the bank had been duly notified of the resignation of Babalola, as Chairman of the company against the backdrop of contest by some significant shareholders for control of the financial institution.

While congratulating Abdullahi on his appointment, the CBN described Babalola’s resignation as the Chairman of the company as highly regrettable, especially given the fact that CBN’s regulatory interventions had made positive impact and increased attractiveness of the company to both local and foreign investors.

Notwithstanding the recent development, he said the CBN acknowledged the measured achievements recorded by the company under Babalola’s watch, and thanked him for his service, even as the CBN wished him well in his future endeavours.

According to Nwanisobi, the regulatory measures taken by the CBN were yielding the expected results in terms of overhaul of corporate governance practices, restoration of confidence in the bank’s brand, increased transparency and due process in transactions as well as improved financial performance.

In line with its statutory mandate, the CBN spokesman said the CBN remained committed to ensuring transparent governance practices at the bank and the continued independence of the chairman and other persons holding key governance positions.

Given the systemic importance of First Bank owing to its historical significance, balance sheet size, large customer base and high level of interconnectedness with other financial service providers, the CBN had in April 2021, taken decisive regulatory action to address corporate governance infractions at the bank leading to the removal of the board of First Bank Ltd and FBN Holdco Plc and appointment of a new board.

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Abdullahi is an economist and thorough-bred professional with long years of experience in the academia, banking supervision and financial regulation, retiring as Director of Banking Supervision, CBN in February 2020. An expert in bank crisis resolution, he also serves on the boards of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), FMDQ, NDIC & AMCON.

The Chairman of Geregu Energy Group and billionaire businessman, Mr. Femi Otedola during the week debunked speculations that he was interested in holding any board position in FBN Holdings, First Bank or any of their subsidiaries.

“I am simply an investor who saw an opportunity in the financial institution and decided to take advantage of it through the investment I have made. My interest, contrary to speculations is not to become chairman of the bank or its holding company (Holdco). Moreover, I am in semi-retirement,” he had explained.

Otedola had praised the financial institution, saying “being the single largest shareholder doesn’t mean I must necessarily hold a position in the bank. I believe in allowing competent people run institutions in a professional manner and to the benefit of all the stakeholders.”

The billionaire recently acquired an additional 2.5 per cent in FBN Holdings Plc, raising his stake to become the single largest shareholder in the company with a total shareholding of 7.5 percent.

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