Ecobank board removes CEO following months of turmoil

Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:12pm EDT
 
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By Matthew Mpoke Bigg

ACCRA (Reuters) - The board of Ecobank removed its chief executive, Thierry Tanoh, on Tuesday following months of turmoil at one of the biggest financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

The crisis over corporate governance and leadership that led to Tanoh's departure is seen as a test case for regulators and has put a spotlight on the integrity of financial institutions on a continent where economies are expanding rapidly.

Ecobank named Deputy CEO Albert Essien as its new chief executive. It also announced the reinstatement of finance director Laurence do Rego, which was a demand by Nigeria's securities regulator, which is investigating alleged breaches of corporate governance.

"Ecobank Transnational Incorporated today announces the departure of Group CEO Mr. Thierry Tanoh with effect from 12 March 2014. Effective the same date he will no longer be a director of ETI," the bank's holding company said in a statement.

Tanoh could not immediately be reached for comment.

Tanoh's supporters have said he was under pressure because of his drive to expose and correct abuses of corporate governance that pre-dated his tenure, which attracted powerful enemies nervous of what he might uncover.

Essien, who is from Ghana, has been at Ecobank for more than 20 years and rose to deputy group CEO two years ago.

The 12-member board made its decision at a meeting in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, a senior bank official said. Tanoh did not attend.   Continued...

 
French Finance Minister Francois Baroin (L) shakes hands with socialist party member Laurent Fabius (R) as Ivory Coast's Thierry Tanoh (C), IFC's (International Finance Corporation) Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Western Europe, looks on at the French employers' body MEDEF union summer forum on the campus of the HEC School of Management in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris, August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Charles Platiau