Nigerian payments startup Flutterwave has appointed Oneal Bhambani as its new chief financial officer (CFO).
He joins the Lagos-based payments company from American Express, where he served as vice president, CFO and head of capital markets at Kabbage, an automated lending platform that provides funding directly to small businesses and consumers.
Before American Express he worked at Kabbage, before leading its sale and subsequent integration into American Express in 2020.
His appointment comes after misconduct claims shook Flutterwave in April.
In an article published on April 12 on West Africa Weekly, a Substack newsletter by journalist David Hundeyin, the startup’s founder and current CEO Olugbenga Agboola was accused of a conflict of interest by continuing to hold a role at Access Bank after joining Flutterwave in the early days of the firm.
Agboola was also accused of offering share prices below the company’s valuation to employees who wanted to cash in on their vested options. These employee stock sales went to an investment vehicle controlled by Agboola, the article claimed.
Subsequent coverage detailed allegations by former employees of mismanagement, harassment, negligence, and bullying.
Flutterwave denies allegations
“The blog post in question is based on recycled and previously addressed claims, and several others that are false,” the company’s management said in a statement to African Business Magazine. The firm also said it was “conducting a thorough review” of the claims to meet its commitment to compliance and ethical responsibility.
In a subsequent email to employees on April 26, Agboola further denied wrongdoing.
“The fact that the allegations of financial impropriety, conflict of interest and sexual harassment have been proved false or have already been reported, investigated and addressed by management matters less to me than the reality that these claims may have shaken your confidence in the company. As founder and CEO, it is my responsibility to address the concerns you may have, and this will be a priority for me moving forward.”
Experienced CFO ‘could have prevented scandal’
The move is a bid to revamp Flutterwave’s image following the scandals, says Judith Chiziebube, a Nigeria-based economic and financial analyst.
“Flutterwave bringing in a former Amex subsidiary CFO is desperately essential for their ops and branding,” she told African Business.
“The appointment is so necessary as most of the issues raised in the scandal were financial and an experienced CFO would have prevented or at least controlled the issues better.”
Flutterwave looks to future
The firm says it hopes the new appointment will help the company expand with “best-in-class discipline, operational controls and financial rigour”.
The company also hired Rebecca Mendel, former Kabbage controller, and Daniel Eidson, former Kabbage head of treasury and tax, who will both report directly to Bhambani. Flutterwave enables global businesses to expand their operations in Africa and other emerging markets through a platform that provides the infrastructure for cross-border transactions.
Since it was founded in 2016, the platform claims to have processed over 200m transactions worth over $16bn across 34 African countries.
The company raised $250m in Series D funding in February, valuing it at over $3bn.