By Akin Akinremi
It was a day to be remembered. August 1, 2016 is already etched in the annals of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, indeed in banking history in the African continent. Though the imminent change had been in the air for some time, at least since July when the announcement was first made, the change of guards was eventually effected on August 1, 2016 at the Lagos headquarters of UBA. Phillips Oduoza stepped down after completing his two- term tenure and Kennedy Uzoka stepped in as new Group Managing Director/CEO. Oduoza had held sway at the bank for six years. Handing over the baton of leadership to Uzoka in the presence of the Board and Management of UBA, Oduoza said: “I’m happy to hand over the leadership of UBA Plc to you as been decided by the board after my six years as MD/CEO. I want you to leverage on the legacy I am leaving behind, which we both started as my DMD, the bank should be the best among its peers during your tenure”.
He added in an emotion-laden speech: “I am a life ambassador of UBA. First and foremost, I will miss the intellect that revolves around UBA. I will miss the pressure of work somehow, the long meetings. I will miss the great credit culture that we have built around UBA. I am going to miss the diverse culture at UBA, the board members at board meetings with each one coming with a different experience. I am going to miss UBA.”
No doubt, Oduoza has played his part in UBA and is moving on. Many in the banking industry will attest to Oduoza’s sound banking experience and the height he took the bank to after succeeding Mr. Tony Elumelu, who is now the Chairman of the bank. Like Oduoza, Uzoka is a banker of no mean repute from his days at the defunct Standard Trust Bank. Like Oduoza also, Uzoka has aworked closely with Elumelu and both shared the latter’s vision for the bank. With the change of guards, Uzoka resumed fully on August 1, 2016 and since then, he is said to have put his hands on the plough and firing from all cylinders. He is said to be fired by the need to realise the dreams of the founding fathers of the bank, which is to make it Number 1 in Nigeria and Africa.
No less is expected of Uzoka given his experience and pedigree. His profile is no doubt intimidating.
With Victor Osadolor, another erudite banker of repute, as Deputy Managing Director, UBA is in safe hands.
The Man Uzoka
Oduoza is one of the most accomplished bankers in Nigeria and the African continent. He has been in the banking industry for the past 25 years. His experience covers all aspects of banking like commercial banking, strategy and business transformation. A graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the University of Benin, Uzoka also holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Lagos. He is also an Harvard Graduate. Uzoka served as the DMD, UBA Group Africa, responsible for the Group operations in 18 countries across Africa. .
His visionary and inspirational leadership, many say, will lead to sustained strong financial performance and steady growth in the bank’s operations across business lines.
Oduoza drives the bank’s growth through the promotion of a strong values system built around the bank’s core values of humility, empathy, integrity and resilience, using it as a navigational tool to entrench UBA as the bank of choice for people and Africa related businesses. With headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, UBA has presence in 19 Africa countries and three global financial centre; New York, London and Paris, providing banking services to more than nine million customers. UBA has successfully established itself as a pan-African financial brand with active participation in infrastructure finance and large ticket transactions in key emerging sectors across Africa including Power, Oil & Gas, Telecoms and Agriculture, through the provision of credit and financial advisory services.
With a background in engineering, Oduoza has built UBA’s business strategy on innovations in e-banking and payments solutions to provide convenient banking services to the banking public in Africa and across the globe.
Oduoza was recently named SRI CEO of the Year by Africa Investor. He has B Sc (Hons) Civil Engineering with 1st Class Honors and an MBA (Finance) from University of Lagos. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program and has attended numerous banking, management and leadership programs in some of the most famous training centers of the world. His strength is in execution, talent management, technology integration, lean banking, electronic banking and relationship management.
Oduoza is married with two children, plays golf and he is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.