As banking industry’s finest takes a bow
Sir: The CBN announced in February 2023 that the maximum (cumulative) number of years that a banker who has attained the level of executive management, that is, an Executive Director (ED), a Deputy Managing Director (DMD) or a Managing Director (MD) can stay active in the banking industry is 20 years irrespective of the institution. It means that an individual cannot exceed twenty years in the industry after attaining ED or DMD position. Recall that when officials reach ED or DMD, they can move from bank to bank, one level to the next or one role to another, including transitioning to the Board as Non-Executive Director (NED).
Typically, career movement is along ED, DMD, MD, NED and Chairman of the board. This status can be acquired in the same bank or a combination of banks. For instance, an official who was an ED in Bank A attained DMD in the same Bank but proceeded to Bank C as MD, finishes his tenor as MD, becomes a NED in Bank C, and then becomes Chairman of the board would need to combine all his years of service, which must not be more than 20 years. No official will be allowed to accumulate more than 20years along this journey. This policy will no doubt see the sudden end of the career of some of the most didactic bankers of our generation.
In 2010, a similar incident occurred when the CBN released a policy to enforce the maximum of ten years a Managing Director can serve in that capacity. That policy saw the exit of powerful and the finest of Bank MDs. Caught on that list were the likes of Mr. Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu of UBA Plc, Mrs. Cecelia Ibru of Oceanic Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Francis Atuche of Bank PHB Plc, Mr. Akinsola Akinfemiwa of Skye Bank Plc, Otunba Subomi Balogun of FCMB Plc among others.
It was the era of bank founders who doubled as chief executive officers. They were intelligent, brilliant and powerful. While some had long overstayed and were way ahead of the stipulated ten years maximum, some were just ten years on the dot or slightly above.
As good as the policy may sound, many have picked holes stating that its implementation deprives the industry of such experienced talents and takes away the shine, glamour and flare with which these individuals do their jobs. Another school of thought have argued that the policy has brought fresh air to the sector as it was becoming tiresome to have the same set of names circulating in the industry.
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) should initiate a Hall of Fame for Nigerian bankers and immediately admit individuals who honourably bow to the policy. In addition, develop a resource material around the biographies of these individuals, which should be introduced into all CIBN-conducted professional examination modules.