Nigeria’s Guaranty names new Fina Bank CEO after buyout

 Customers in the banking hall of a Fina Bank branch in Nairobi. FILE
Customers in the banking hall of a Fina Bank branch in Nairobi. FILE 

Fina Bank has shaken up its board and appointed a new CEO following the completion of its buyout.

The bank, which is rebranding to Guaranty Trust Bank Kenya, has tapped Adekunle Sonola as CEO and Olaboyo Veracruz as executive director in changes that saw it name six new board members.

Mr Sonola was group head of corporate banking at the London-listed Guaranty Trust Bank — which in December completed the purchase of a 70 per cent stake in Fina Bank.

Rajesh Kapoor, who has been acting CEO at Fina Bank since April, will now assume the role of director support services.

The changes were placed on the bank’s website on Tuesday. Other appointees to the board were former KCB corporate director John Mark Wandolo and former National Oil managing director Mary M’Mukindia.

Guaranty Trust Bank group CEO Olesegun Agbaje and his chief financial officer Ademola Odeyemi have also joined the board—reflecting the importance the Nigerian bank has placed on Fina Bank.

The bank acquired a majority stake in Fina Bank, set up in 1991, through a share purchase from current shareholders and direct investment in a deal valued at $100 million (Sh8.54 billion).

The bank’s founder, Dhanu Chandaria, has been retained as chair of the board. Guaranty Trust Bank is eyeing expansion opportunities in East Africa after building operations in West Africa to tap into the region’s fast growing economies and infrastructure deals, especially oil and gas financing.

Fina Bank’s assets stood at Sh19.3 billion in September and its profits grew 66.6 per cent to Sh255 million in the first nine months of the year. It has branches across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

The bank has been looking for between Sh2.6 billion and Sh3.49 billion as additional capital to fund its growth plans.

Guaranty Trust Bank had $10.76 billion (Sh930 billion) in net assets last December, or two-fifths of the Kenyan industry’s combined balance sheet of Sh2.33 trillion at the end of last year.

It joins West African peers UBA Kenya and Eco Bank which recently set up shop in Kenya.

The executive shake-up at Fina Bank comes at a time when the local banking seen has changed CEOs at a quick pace, ushering in new leaders in an industry that has maintained double-digit growth in the past five years.

Four of the banks listed at the Nairobi bourse have over the past year made changes to their corner offices including StanChart, Barclays, NIC Bank and KCB Group.

Most of the appointments were Kenyans in the diaspora. This includes John Gachora (NIC Bank), Jeremy Awori (Barclays Bank of Kenya) and Munir Ahmed (National Bank).

Standard Chartered tapped Lamin Manjang, from its Qatar operations, to replace Richard Etemesi as head of the bank’s Kenyan unit.