Ebenezer Onyeagwu: at the zenith of his career at the zenith of the Nigerian banking sector

Those nearly 30 years of banking experience, which began at one of the now defunct merchant banks, culminated in his appointment as Managing Director and CEO of one of Nigeria’s largest banks. no small task. Being at the peak of your career in a bank that also results in a peak (Zenith) is also a beautiful coincidence.

Good administrators are not easy to find, especially for large groups and businesses. Ebenezer Onyeagwu has proven itself over three decades of banking experience; no wonder that Zenith Bank has yet published beautiful figures for the year 2020 despite the challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. This achievement was openly recognized when he became CEO of the Year at the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards held in December 2020.

Onyeagwu’s journey to the post he now holds began when he obtained his Ordinary National Diploma (OND) and Senior National Diploma (HND) in Accounting from the Federal Polytechnic of Auchi, in the Edo State (Bendel State) in 1984 and 1987 respectively. While still employed by the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), he graduated as a public accountant in 1989.

Much later he attended Said Business School at the University of Oxford, England, for a postgraduate degree in financial strategy and a certificate in macroeconomics. He received executive-level business education from the CEO Academy of the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania. He also attended Columbia Business School at Columbia University, Harvard Business School at Harvard University for in-depth executive level training in disruptive strategy, and Lagos Business School at Pan African University, in Nigeria, where he joined the senior management program. He holds an MA in Finance and Financial Management Services from the University of Salford. He was appointed a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) in 2003.

Career evolution

Onyeagwu began his banking career at the now defunct Financial Merchant Bank in 1991 and joined the former Citizens International Bank Limited where until 2002 he held several management positions.

He joined Zenith Bank Plc as Senior Manager, Internal Control and Audit in 2002. From there, he rose through the ranks to become Deputy Managing Director (2003-2004), Deputy Managing Director (2004-2005), then Managing Director from 2005 to April 2013. Through these positions, he demonstrated his competence and professionalism in the management of risky asset portfolios, treasury functions, high-level strategic corporate governance, the IT group, administration of credit, treasury and foreign exchange, among others.

In 2013, Onyeagwu became Executive Director. He was in charge of Lagos and South-South areas, and also had to oversee strategic business groups / units of the bank such as financial control and strategic planning, treasury and correspondent groups, human resources group, the oil and gas group and credit risk. Management Group, etc. Onyeagwu was also a non-executive director of Zenith Bank Ghana Ltd from 2013 to 2019.

He became Deputy Managing Director of Zenith Bank from October 2016 to June 2019, when he was appointed Managing Director and Managing Director of the group. He also became Chairman of Zenith Nominees ltd and Zenith Pensions Custodian ltd in parallel.

In 2016, Onyeagwu acquired more shares of Zenith Bank, increasing its shares from 3.1 million units to 5.5 million units and thus becoming the third on the board of directors with the most shares. Onyeagwu is a member of the board of directors of Zenith Bank Ghana and has been a non-executive director of FMDQ Securities Exchange Plc since June 2019. He was a non-executive director of Africa Finance Corporation from 2013 to 2019.

According to his LinkedIn profile, other positions he holds include non-executive board member, Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) (part-time) and non-executive director of facilities. expansion of the network of shared agencies (SANEF) from September 2019.

Under his leadership, the bank was ranked first bank in Nigeria by Tier 1 capital in the 2021 ranking of the top 1000 banks in the world published by The Banker Magazine, a publication of the Financial Times Group of the United Kingdom, thus maintaining the rank of the third year in a row with Level 1 capital of $ 2.64 billion. It also ranks as the 454th bank in the world, the only Nigerian bank in the top 500.

The bank also became Nigeria’s Best Bank at the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021; Best Corporate Governance “Financial Services” Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom; and Bank of the Year (Nigeria) at the Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020.

Onyeagwu was named 2019 Bank CEO of the Year by Champion Newspapers and 2020 Bank CEO of the Year by BusinessDay Newspapers.

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