Kenyan banker Jeremy Awori has been appointed as the new CEO of the West Africa-based Ecobank Group, replacing the retiring Ade Ayeyemi who, as CEO, has been a driving force behind the bank’s realisation of its pan-African ambitions since his appointment in September 2015.
“I look forward to consolidating the transformation of Ecobank, a truly pan-African institution full of talented people, while innovating to create value for all of Ecobank’s stakeholders”, pledged Awori following the announcement.
He arrives at Ecobank after almost a decade as CEO of Absa Bank in Kenya, where he recently directed a complete overhaul of the branch’s brand in 2020.
Returning Ecobank to its pre-pandemic growth and furthering the development of digital finance products will be high on the incoming CEO’s agenda. The first half of 2022 saw a recovery in investor confidence after a tough period defined by the pandemic’s impact on growth, especially in large Ecobank markets like Nigeria.
Ayeyemi leaves Ecobank in good stead. As of September 2022, the group has a larger pan-African footprint than any other commercial bank. Operating in 33 of the continent’s 54 countries, Ecobank partners provide over 32m customers with access to bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory facilities and trade, securities, wealth and asset management services.
Pivotal moment for Ecobank
The leadership transition comes at a pivotal moment for the group. Under Ayeyemi’s leadership, Ecobank, founded in Togo in 1985, has focused on its goal of breaking the dominance of foreign and state-owned financial institutions in African markets. The bank, based in Lomé and listed on the Lagos, Accra and Abidjan stock exchanges, has plans to relocate the head office of its Nigerian subsidiary to the newly-commissioned Ecobank Pan-African Centre in Lagos as it strives to consolidate its distinctly pan-African brand.
The five-year Roadmap to Leadership Strategy, launched in 2016, provided a framework for Ayeyemi’s tenure by setting goals of enhancing profitability and growth through the development of digital products, scalability and corporate governance standards.
Ecobank has figured prominently in the African Banker Awards over the years, and was voted “Africa’s Best Bank for SMEs” at the 2022 edition.
“We have embraced technology to drive operational efficiency and enhance our offerings, service, and customer experience”, said Ayeyemi at the ceremony. “Our unparalleled African presence and operations have also earned us an enviable place as a true Pan African Bank with a depth of knowledge that distinguishes our products and delivery.”
An earlier version of this article stated incorrectly that Ecobank was planning to move its headquarters to Lagos. We apologise for any confusion this may have caused.