The Emerging Face of South-South: Henry Semenitari

By Henry Semenitari
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Mr Henry Semenitari is a former Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Nigeria.

'He took Unity Bank from a shrinking asset base to the position of seventh largest bank in Nigeria, with shareholder’s fund at N51.2 billion, Semenitari would be remembered for his giant strides in repositioning Unity Bank.

This Earned him the 2014 Leadership Newspaper Banker of the Year award

Mr. Semenitari resigned his appointment after 18 months at the helms of affair of bank to pursue other endeavours.

Henry James Semenitari was born on 29th June 1963. He is from Rivers state in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, West Africa. He attended St Cyprians Primary School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State in 1974. Next was Okrika Grammar School, Okrika, Rivers State in 1979, Enitonna High School, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State in 1980 and University of Lagos in 1987.

Mr Semenitari went to the International Graduates school of Management, University of Navar, Barcelona, Spain in 2000. Next on the line was

the Harvard Business School Boston, Advanced Management Programme, United States of America in 2007. And the Cambridge Judge Business School, advanced leadership Programme, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Mr. Henry James Semenitari has over 26 years valued and consistent banking experience in Operations, Internal Control, Branch Management, Credit and Marketing, Commercial and Retail Banking, Consumer, Corporate Banking (Energy) etc. acquired in banks such as Zenith, Diamond, United Bank for Africa, ACB International Bank and Continental Trust Bank. He also held senior Management positions in UBA Plc as an Assistant General Manager – Commercial and Retail Banking Group, General Manager (Credit and Marketing) in ACB International Bank Plc, Acting Managing Director/CEO, ACB International Bank Plc and Executive Director (Business Development) in Continental Bank Limited, Afribank Nigeria Plc in May 2003 as General Manager in charge of Consumer and Retail Banking business with responsibility of supervising and development of business activities across the entire 150 branch network, before joining First City Monument Bank Plc in November, 2005 as Executive Director Retail and Enterprise Banking with responsibility for developing and growing retail and enterprise banking business across the entire branch network. A position he held before joining Unity Bank Plc as Non-Executive Director and later became Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Bank in January 2014.

Mr. Semenitari’s recognized strengths are in Business Process Re-engineering and Design with specialization in Strategic Process Enterprise Management, and Integration of Business process models with Information Technology to drive business at Product and Strategic business unit levels. In addition to these, he had development and implementation experience of major Banking Applications such as Micro Banker/Flexcube, Phoenix, Bank Master, SAP (Systems Application and Product), Globus and Finacle Banking Application etc.

Aged 53, Mr. Semenitari holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from International Graduate School of Management, University of Navara (I.E.S.E) Barcelona, Spain. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Advance Management Programme (AMP173) in Boston, USA. He is also an alumnus of Cambridge Judge Business School, Advanced Leadership Programme (ALP 1), Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK.

Mr. Semenitari is a fully registered Engineer (R.29,331) and member Council for the Regulation Of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He is also a member the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). He is a Fellow Institute of Credit Administration (FICA) of Nigeria and also member, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). He is married with four children. '


'Gross Earnings grew from N62Billion in year 2013 to N77Billion in year 2014.

Profit before Tax grew from negative of N33.6Billion in year 2013 to positive of N13.6Billion in year 2014.

Profit after tax grew from negative of N22.5Billion in year 2013 to positive of N10.6Billion in year 2014.

Cost to income ratio improved from N284.4% in year 2013 to 69.6% in year 2014.

Return on asset improved from negative 5.7% in year 2013 to positive 2.6% in year 2014.

Return on Equity improved from negative 56.7% in year 2013 to positive 20.5% in year 2014.

Capital adequacy ratio improved from negative 13.8% in year 2013 to positive 2.02% in year 2014.

Liquidity ratio improved from 34.5% in year 2013 to 44.8% in year 2014.

Unity Bank achieved international ‘A3’ global rating by GCR.

Established a robust electronic business (E-Business) Group in the bank that achieved the following results on various electronic channels. ie Point of sales (POS) transactions grew from 17.5milion transactions in year 2013 to 75.3milion transactions in year 2014 and ATM transaction grew from 3.3milion transactions in 2013 to 5.7million transactions in 2014.

Nonperforming loans (NPL’S) improved from 25.5% in year 2013 to 17.6% in year 2014.It is pertinent to note that under the leadership of Mr. Semenitari, the bank recorded a historical achievement in dept recovery drive by recovering in excess of N10Billion (Ten Billion Naira) bad debts of Unity Bank Plc in year 2014 financial year.

Also under his leadership, the bank won the following awards European Business assembly Best Africa Regional Bank Award, Oxford University, England for year 2014.Top 100 businesses in Nigeria Award by Federal Government of Nigeria Business Day News Paper Top Chief Executive Officer award Banker of the year 2014 award in Nigeria by Leadership News Paper Mr. Semenitari was admitted into the famous Bill Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in times square New York, USA etc.

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