Nigerian Tech CEOs Stepped Down
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Industry - November 2, 2022

4 Nigerian Tech CEOs Who Stepped Down

A couple of  Nigerian tech Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) stepped down from their roles in 2022 for reasons such as unethical work culture, sexual harassment, and mismanagement of funds.

Despite the high rate of tech CEOs who stepped down due to their questionable actions, some passed the baton naturally to the next leadership. Let’s look at some Nigerian tech CEOs who have stepped down.

Ebunoluwa Okunbanjo – Bento

Nigerian Tech CEOs Stepped Down
Source: Nairametrics

In the first quarter of 2022, the board of directors of Bento, a digital payroll and human resource management platform in Nigeria, asked the chief executive officer (CEO), Ebunoluwa Okunbanjo, to step down over allegations of workplace abuse.

According to the allegation by former staff of the company, the former CEO subjected them to verbal abuses and made the work environment at Bento toxic and unhealthy. This attracted different reactions against Okunbanjo. Following this, he was asked to take time off work and hand over everything to his co-founder Chidozie Okonkwo, the new CEO.

To clarify the accusations, the board said the company had employed the services of an external counsel to investigate and advise the board on the proper steps. Also, the company cancelled the employees’ non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to give employees the right to grant press interviews.

The board said, “There is no place in the world for tyranny, and we will ensure Bento becomes the leading voice for transforming every workspace into psychologically safe spaces that allow all employees to thrive”. To reduce the damage of the bad publicity, he later released an apology letter on his Medium page titled From Ebun. With Love.

Eke Urum – Risevest

Nigerian Tech CEOs Stepped Down
Source: NewsWireNGR

Following a sexual allegation against Eke Urum, the co-founder of Risevest, he was asked to step down until the conclusion of a six-week investigation. Upon completing the investigation, he was found guilty of sexual impropriety, abuse of power and workplace bullying. 

With the development, the panel said that the former CEO would not be reinstated and would be removed from the board of directors and moved into a non-executive member role of the new board to be formed. Also, he is to be on the startup’s investment strategy and provide guidance on technology.

The former CEO accepted the panel judgement and said, “As a leader, I have grown a lot over the years and still have a lot of growing to do, which is why I’m going to be taking additional coaching and executive training. “I regret the distraction that my actions may have caused and fully respect the integrity of the process the Risevest investors and the panel underwent to identify the gaps in our systems and my leadership”.

Tony Odiba, the head of operations, was asked to continue as the acting CEO until a newly constituted board concludes on the matter.

Dr Abasi Ene-Obong – 54Gene

Source: Nairametrics

Another phenomenon person that stepped down was Dr Abasi Ene-Obong, the CEO of 54Gene, a genomics research, services and development company based in Nigeria and the United States. He made the announcement two months after the company laid off about 30% (95) of its workforce and about a month after Ogochukwu Osifo, his co-founder and the vice president of engineering, left the company.

Though the reason for stepping down was not made clear, it is believed to be related to the financial impropriety levelled against him in the company. Though he is no longer the CEO, he remains a part of the board of directors and serves as a senior advisor to the company. He passed the baton to General Counsel Teresia L. Bost, who was appointed interim CEO.

Onyeka Akumah – Farmcrowdy

Source: FarmCrowdy Stories

In contrast to some Nigeria tech CEOs who stepped down based on bad publicity, Onyeka Akumah, the former Chairman and shareholder of Farmcrowdy, a global agri-tech firm, stepped down after the expiration of his five-year tenure as Chairman of the company. He exchanged the baton with Akindele Phillips, the co-founder.

He said, “The implication is that I no longer have ties with Farmcrowdy and going forward, it will be led and managed by Akindele Phillips and Ifeanyi Anazodo. I wish them well as they build the company’s next chapter.”

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