Barely one year into the tenure of Godwin Emefiele as GMD and chief executive, Zenith International Bank showcases its strength with a positive result
When Jim Ovia, former group managing director and chief executive officer, GMD/CEO, of Zenith International Bank, was mandated by the Lamido Sanusi-led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to quit his position at the bank in line with the 10-year tenure policy for bank chief executives, many assumed the board of the bank would look outside the bank for Ovia’s successor. But the board settled for Godwin Emefiele, who had an in-depth knowledge of the bank and had been part of its core personnel since foundation. He is believed to understand the bank’s culture and what is required to take it to the next level.
One year on, Emefiele has started justifying the confidence reposed in him by the board of the bank. He recently delivered his first full financial results since assuming office as GMD/CEO of Zenith Bank. The results covered from January to December, a period in which he was completely in charge of affairs of the bank.
The results for 2011 show that the bank is on its way up after the suppressed performance of 2009, when it recorded a N35 billion profit before tax, PBT, rising to N50 billion in 2010 and N61 billion in 2011 under Emefiele. Profit after tax, PAT, which stood at N18 billion in 2009, grew to N33 billion in 2010, rising to N37 billion in 2011. The bank’s asset similarly grew from N1.79 trillion in 2010 to N2.26 trillion in 2011. The results, which were released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, recently show the bank’s gross earnings rising by 27 per cent from N192 billion to N244 billion, indicating an increasing dominance in its market share.
Experts commended the results, which were said to be indicative of the ability of the bank to sustain its performance, raise the bar of competition and continuously meet the expectations of shareholders. It is believed that the results would further endear the bank’s stock to its shareholders.
Marcel Okeke, head of research, Zenith Bank, said over the past 21 years, the bank has grown to be one of the biggest and most profitable banks in Nigeria. Emefiele explained that the 2011 results indicate steady progress, “the strength of our business model, the expanding value we bring to our customers, our resilience and determination to do all it takes to give our stakeholders good return on their trust in us.” According to him, in the year under review, the bank was conferred with the prestigious Best Bank in Corporate Governance Award in recognition of the bank’s ability to set an industry-wide example of best practices in corporate governance.
“At Zenith we are already primed for the Cashlite project of the Central Bank of Nigeria. As a bank, we have always been mindful of the disruptive power of the digital revolution and view the project as an enabler and a generator of new opportunities. We shall naturally take advantage of the accruing opportunities therefrom. In effect, we shall continue to deploy cutting-edge technology to enable our deliverables on a highly automated platform that makes us unique,” explained Emefiele.
Established in May 1990, the bank started operations in July of the same year as a commercial bank. It became a public limited company on June 17, 2004 and was listed on the NSE on October 21, 2004 following a highly successful initial public offering. The bank currently has a shareholder base of over one million and had highest shareholders’ funds of $2.46 billion as at third quarter of 2011.