Ecobank investors pull plug on smaller interim board

By The Citizen

Ecobank Transnational (ETI)  said its biggest shareholders withdrew a motion to create a smaller interim board, which would have overseen the implementation of measures to improve corporate governance.

Investors decided to retain the existing 12-person board, Mwambu Wanendeya, a spokesman for the bank, told reporters after an extraordinary general meeting in Lome, Togo. While declining to comment further on the board, he said shareholders had approved a governance action plan following recommendations by Nigeria's Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

'The vote on the governance action plan was unanimous,' said Wanendeya.

Nigeria's regulator investigated Ecobank after former Director of Finance Laurence Do Rego told the SEC in August that Chief Executive Officer Thierry Tanoh and former Chairman Kolapo Lawson planned to sell assets below market value. Both Tanoh and Lawson deny any wrongdoing.

At yesterday's meeting, shareholders voted to limit the maximum size of the board to 15 members and to ensure that no directors can serve more than nine years in total. A motion to raise capital was rejected after getting the backing of 68 percent of shareholders, short of the 75 percent required, Wanendeya said.