By Akin Akinremi
It is no longer news that a change of guards is underway at the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA). Enterprising banker Kennedy Uzoka is warming up to take over the mantle of leadership of the bank from Phillip Oduoza whose two-term tenure of six years expires on July 31st 2016. Whereas the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rule on tenure provides for a two-term of five years each for chief executives of banks, the UBA Group’s tenure rule further reduces the number of years, providing for a two-term of three years in order to accommodate more resourceful manager within the shortest possible time.
Kennedy Uzoka has closely worked with the Chairman of UBA Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, since the days of the defunct Standard Trust Bank Ltd (STB). The duo and others then were referred to in the industry as ‘Cow Boy’ bankers.
Uzoka like Elumelu has also always been a friend to the media, particularly Financial Journalists covering the activities of STB at the time. Uzoka had always been brimming with the zeal and ideas, hoping that one day, he too would get to the top position at the bank.
Last week, he was announced the new GMD of UBA with effect from August 1, 2016. A resilient and astute banker, Uzoka is a very experienced banker and a professional to the core. It is therefore no surprise that he is taking over the bank shortly.
Speaking about Uzoka whom he had worked closely with, the Chairman of UBA Group Elumelu said: ”Kennedy brings an extremely strong skill set and is ideally positioned to lead UBA in the next phase of growth. His most recent experience of managing the Group’s increasingly-important African business is particularly relevant as well as his work to build one of the leading financial services franchises in Africa”.
Some staff members of the UBA Group, who spoke with WESTERN POST, also applauded the change of baton at the banking group, saying it was smooth and without bias and rancour. According to them, it followed the UBA tenure rule, which states that GMD’s of the bank will spend two terms of three years each.
They described Uzoka as a professional banker, one who believes in achieving set targets. Some of them, who had particularly worked with Uzoka, said he would take UBA Group to a higher height, making it one the top banks in the continent.
The Man Uzoka
Uzoka has been in the banking industry for the past 25 years. He has traversed most parts of banking, having high experience in commercial banking, strategy and business transformation .He is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin. He also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos. He is also a Harvard Graduate.
Uzoka served as the DMD, UBA Group Africa, responsible for the Group operations in 18 countries across Africa. He will take over the Group CEO’s position with Victor Osadolor, another erudite banker of repute, as Deputy Managing Director, on August 1, 2016.