Most Outstanding Bank CEOs in Africa

The African financial industry is expanding steadily, with a goal to providing customers with smooth, customer-friendly, and cheap financial goods and services.

These objectives have been realized over the years thanks to the dedication of dedicated employees led by various remarkable CEOs.

In this article, we present a list of ten of the continent’s most remarkable bank CEOs, whose exceptional qualities have helped enhance their bank’s performance and influenced the continent’s banking business in no particular order.

Zenith Bank Nigeria’s Ebenezer Onyeagwu

Zenith Bank Plc’s Chief Executive Officer is Ebenezer Onyeagwu. As CEO, his excellence has been reflected in the bank’s financial inclusion, corporate governance, and sustainability, as well as financial performance, which saw Zenith Bank’s market value expand by 47% in four years.

His outstanding performance has earned the bank numerous local and international accolades, including recognition as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the 13th consecutive year in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine, as well as Bank of the Year in Nigeria for three consecutive years between 2020 and 2022.

Onyeagwu is also one of Nigeria’s highest-paid bank CEOs. He received an annual package of N285 million in 2022, an increase from the N246 million he received in 2021

He just received the ‘Best Banking CEO of the Year in Africa’ award from the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards.

Chris Ofikulu, University of Ghana

He is the Managing Director of UBA Ghana and the Regional CEO of UBA West Africa. Ofikulu’s leadership at the bank has pushed the bank to be the finest financial service provider in Ghana as well as the Leading Financial Services Institution in Ghana by 2023.

According to the World Business Outlook, he will be the Banking CEO of the year 2023.

Ruth Zaipuna, NMB Bank Plc, Tanzania

Ruth Zaipuna, who was appointed CEO of NMB Bank in 2020, has used her position to benefit not only her bank but also the Tanzanian banking industry as a whole.

In particular, in 2022, she led the bank to a turnaround with a 47% increase in profits after tax to TZS 429 billion compared to TZS 290 billion in 2021, making history as the largest profit ever made in the Tanzanian banking industry and improving its profitability ranking to third best in East Africa.

As a financial inclusion advocate, she has increased the bank’s visibility to become the only Tanzanian bank with a branch in every district, earning the bank a partnership with the government to reach far-flung rural savings groups via mobile phones and offer individual accounts to the unbanked.

Notably, as a result of her efforts, NMB is now one of Tanzania’s primary stakeholders in tax collecting.

Ms Zaipuna was also named Tanzania’s Best CEO for the second time in 2023.

Adeshola Adeduntan, Nigerian First Bank

Adeshola Adeduntan’s experience in the Nigerian banking sector has helped First Bank grow both domestically and globally, solidifying its good performance as a systemically significant bank.

As CEO, Adeduntan has reduced the bank’s non-performing loan portfolio, giving the bank a significant boost in its effort to enhance profitability and strengthen its leadership in Nigeria’s financial services market.

To his credit, Adeduntan implemented an agent banking proposition as part of its retail strategy to support the CBN’s financial inclusion initiative, allowing First Bank to build the most extensive network in Nigeria, covering 772 of the 774 Local Government Areas with more than 170,000 active agents.

First Bank has garnered numerous awards both at home and internationally during Adeduntan’s leadership.

Adeshola Adeduntan’s net worth is predicted to be $5 million as of 2023.

Kariuki Ngari, Kenyan Standard Chartered Bank

Kariuku Ngari, the CEO of Standard Chartered, has concentrated on improving the bank’s sustainability and developing innovative digital solutions, initiatives that have brought favorable outcomes for the firm thus far.

He has also set the audacious goal of attaining net zero financed carbon emissions from the Bank’s activities by 2025, and has so far been able to lower its energy use by 50% in three years and its water usage by 82% in the same time.

Among other achievements, he has spearheaded and accomplished tremendous increases in gender equity by boosting women on the bank’s board to 45% from 23% in 2019 and growing women at the management level and across the staff complement to 47%.

Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Nigerian Fidelity Bank

Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe took over as CEO of Fidelity Bank on January 1, 2021, and has since focused her efforts on expanding the bank’s financial products and services, which led to the bank being named Nigeria’s best performing bank and best SME Bank Nigeria in 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards, among other accolades.

Mrs. Onyeaki-Ikpe is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $800,000 as of 2023.

Egypt’s Suez Canal Bank, Hussein Refaie

Hussein Refaie, a pathfinder known for his revolutionary banking concepts, has been essential in the bank’s development.

Over the last five years, Refaie has been able to rebuild the bank and broaden its banking activities, as well as launch additional departments within the bank, such as the Retail Banking Department, the Syndicated Loans Group, and the SMEs Group, which have brought competitive financial goods and services to the Egyptian market.

In 2022, the International Finance Awards named him the best bank CEO in Egypt for his outstanding achievements to the bank’s growth.

John Gachora NCBA Bank, Kenya

The NCBA has been led by John Gachora since its inception in 2019 following the merger of the Commercial Bank of Africa and the NIC Group, and has demonstrated exemplary market leadership in customer experience, product innovation, and financial inclusion.

The bank is also carving out a niche for itself via digital channels and managing platforms like M-Shwari.

Gachora has grown the NCBA Bank to become the third-largest bank in Kenya, as well as one of the largest asset financiers, digital leaders, and wholesale banks in East Africa, with over 33 years of experience in the banking sector and skills in investment banking, risk management, portfolio management, and emerging markets.

Sim Tshabalala, South African Standard Bank

Simphiwe Tshabalala is the joint CEO of the Standard Bank Group and the CEO of Standard Bank South Africa, where the bank has concentrated on organic expansion on the continent.

The bank has expanded over the years to become Africa’s largest lender by assets and one of the continent’s most valuable financial services firms.

Tshabalala received a total compensation package of R53.9 million (about $2.88 million) from the premier lender in 2022 as a result of his significant role in the group’s financial performance.

Moezz Mir, SBM Bank, Kenya

Moezz Mir assumed office as the CEO of SBM Bank Kenya in 2018 after the acquisition of carved out assets and liabilities of Chase Bank Kenya and saddles with the task of transforming and consolidating the process of two distressed banks.

Not only has he succeeded in these goals, but he has also been albe to restore confidence in the bank’s activities thereby setting up several commendations like BestBank in Women Banking Kenya 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 by Word Economic Magazine and Citibank 2020 and 2021 Performance Excellence Award, awarded by Citi Treasury and Trade Solution.

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