The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the appointment of Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi as non-executive Director of First Bank Holding Plc and Chairman of the company to replace Mr. Remi Balalola.
The CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi disclosed late on Friday that the Bank had been duly notified of the resignation of Mr. Babalola, as Chairman of the company against the backdrop of contest by some significant shareholders for control of First Bank Holding Plc.
While congratulating Alhaji Abdullahi on his appointment, the CBN described Babalola’s resignation as the Chairman of the company as 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 Mr. 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 in April 2021 took 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.
Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi is an economist and thorough-bred professional with long years of experience in 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 and AMCON.