Ecobank: Ayeyemi's friendly takeover
Still scarred by a leadership crisis in 2014, Ecobank surprised many by looking outside the bank for a new CEO. Ade Ayeyemi already sees himself as an insider just a few weeks into the job – but can he live up to expectations of this ambitious pan-African bank?
After just one month in his role, Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated’s (ETI) new CEO says he feels firmly rooted in the group’s culture. Although a Citigroup veteran for 27 years, Ayeyemi has “never once felt like an outsider since joining ETI,” he says. “The main thing people should take from this is that I am dedicated to the continent, just like Ecobank. And through my role at Citi, I have continuously interacted with ETI and Ecobankers. I’m no stranger here.”
Ayeyemi seems clear on Ecobank’s direction: “I know what we need to do. I have had many open discussions with Ecobank’s management teams and they have all been open with me about their past achievements, future goals and even some of their missed opportunities,” says Ayeyemi. “Their frankness towards me shows that I am one of the team.”
Ayeyemi’s statements on teamwork come while he sits in a room in London’s Claridge’s Hotel in early October. He has been preparing for his part in the CEO debate, part of the Financial Times Summit on Africa. It is one of his first high profile public appearances as ETI’s CEO since he officially took over from Albert Essien on September 1 this year.