Faith Tuedor-Matthews tipped to replace Sanusi, CBN Governor

By The Citizen

As the race to replace the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi intensifies, all permutations are in favour the present managing director of the Mainstreet Bank Limited, Ms Faith Tuedor-Matthews.

The tenure of Mallam Sanusi will end in June 2014 and he has indicated that he would not seek reappointment after the expiration of his five year tenure in office; which has been remarkable with tough decisions in banking reforms.

Ms. Tuedor-Matthews is highly favoured to replace Sanusi according to a highly-placed source at the Presidency who confided in THE CITIZEN.

At her present national assignment in one of the rescued banks, Mainstreet bank (formerly Afribank Plc), Tuedor-Matthews is said to have transformed the ailing bank back to profitability, with the bank posting a stellar performance with a profit before tax of N24.1bn in its group financial performance for the year ended December 31, 2012.

The declared result showed a marked improvement in all key financial indices, especially given the bank's loss position of N4.4bn within the five-month period it operated as at December 2011. The figures from the result also showed that the bank grew its gross earnings to N47.9bn within the period under review

The result surpassed analysts’ predictions partly because of some intractable labour related issues that the bank was enmeshed in during the period.

It was gathered that the purchase and assumption policy which defined the takeover of the assets of the legacy banks did not recognise staff liability as part of the responsibility of the new management. However, it was said that Tuedor-Matthews, in her magnanimity, commissioned a committee to calculate the entire gratuity of the ex-staff and those still in the system but who were inherited from the legacy Afribank and the bank resolved to pay 25%.

Meanwhile, there are other possible contenders for the CBN top job including the managing director of Access Bank Plc, Mr.  Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, who has confirmed that he will bow out of office in December 2013.

But analysts are of the opinion that being an operator and shareholder of Access Bank, it will be difficult to appoint Aig-Imoukhuede to the apex job in the CBN.

Besides, industry watchers are of the view that the outgoing chief executive of Access Bank might experience challenges from the quarters of the former owners of the defunct Intercontinental Bank. It was alleged that his private company was indebted to the defunct bank in excess of billions of naira before the eventual acquisition of the bank by Access Bank, which he now runs.

Another possible contender for the job is Chief Atedo Peterside, the current Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank.  But the operator-regulator argument is most likely to work against him.

Unlike Tuedor-Matthews who is an employee of Mainstreet Bank, Aig-Imoukhuede and Peterside also own substantial stakes in their respective banks.

It could be recalled that in the recent times when the CBN Governor was appointed from among bank chiefs, they were merely employees.  The current governor, Sanusi, prior to his appointment, was the Group Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

It was also gathered that some eminent Nigerians, including the Governor of Delta State (where she hails from), Dr.  Emmanuel Uduaghan, are vigorously pushing for her candidature, in view of the circumstances in her favour.

Faith Tuedor-Matthews is a Harvard Business School alumnus and holds an MBA from the Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

For over 26 years, she has garnered vast experience working with leading banks in Nigeria. She started her career with the United Bank for Africa in 1985. She then joined Ecobank Transnational Inc. in 1992, where she rose to the position of General Manager before taking up an appointment as Executive Director with Standard Trust Bank / United Bank For Africa Plc (UBA).

She left UBA as Deputy Managing Director in 2011 for her present national assignment as the turnaround Group Managing Director/CEO of Mainstreet Bank Limited.