First Bank Holdings appoints Otedola board chairman

The First Bank of Nigeria Holdings has appointed Nigerian billionaire and businessman, Femi Otedola, as the new chairman of its board of directors.

Otedola, who recently expressed his excitement about his return to the Forbes African Billionaires list after a seven-year hiatus,  takes over from the outgoing Chairman of the board, Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi.

Sharing a picture of the announcement on his Instagram page, he wrote, “Interesting”, and added smiley and dollar emojis.”

The 61-year-old entrepreneur currently sits at number 20 on the list with a net worth of $1.1bn.

According to Forbes, the wealth of the 2024 list of 20 billionaires rose to $82.4bn from last year’s $81.5bn, partly as a result of Otedola’s return. Before then, the last time the business mogul appeared on the Forbes Africa list was in 2017. This year, he took the 20th spot on the list.

The decision of the financial institution followed a recent meeting of the board held today.

The bank disclosed this in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), notifying investors of the new development.

This appointment, according to the bank, takes effect today, January 31, 2024.

Recall that in July 2023, Wole Olanipekun & Co, the legal representatives of Dr Oba Otudeko, former chairman of the group asked FBN Holdings to disregard a petition by Ecobank’s lawyers, demanding a rejection of 4.7 billion shares purchased by the entrepreneur.

The law firm, in a letter, dismissed claims by Ecobank that there was a Supreme Court judgment backing its stance that Otudeko owed it N13.5bn.

According to the letter, no order of the court had “awarded same or any judgment sum (as debt owed) at all in favour of Ecobank as a liability from our clients or any of the Honeywell companies.”

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The legal entity, on behalf of Oba Otudeko, urged FBN Holdings to ignore and decline all the requests contained in Ecobank’s letter.

The Securities and Exchange Commission had disclosed investigating the tussle at First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc.

In October 2023, Otedola was listed as the largest shareholder of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc, despite the acquisition of 4.7 billion units of FBNH shares by the former chairman of the group, Oba Otudeko, in July 2023.

FBN Holdings stated that “the company received a notification from Honeywell Group Limited that its affiliate, Barbican Capital Limited, has acquired an aggregate of 4,770,269,843 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791, (35.89 billion) as at the above-referenced date.

“Based on the foregoing, the equity stake of Barbican Capital Limited in the company is 13.3 per cent.”

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