Jim Ovia’s Zenith Bank to Become a Holding Company
Nigeria banking magnate, Jim Ovia has received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to transform Zenith Bank Plc into a non-operating financial holding company.
This was contained in a recently released trading update shared on the Nigerian Exchange. The approval from Nigeria’s apex monetary authority is a major boost for Zenith Bank’s strategic expansion plans and will facilitate the structural transformation of the bank.
It will also enable the bank to join the league of other financial services providers, such as Access Holdings, Guaranty Trust Holdings Co., Plc., First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc., and Stanbic IBTC Holdings, that currently operate under a holding company structure.
Jim Ovia becomes Chairman of Zenith Holdco Plc
The approval also made provision for the appointment of Jim Ovia as the chairman of Zenith Holdco Plc. The Nigerian banking mogul will also continue to serve as the chairman of Zenith Bank until the transformation process is complete.
Jim Ovia, who is also the founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank, has been an integral part of the evolution and digital transformation of the Nigerian banking industry. He owns a significant 16.2 per cent stake in the leading financial services group, which amounts to 5,072,104,311 ordinary shares.
The bank’s recent move has been viewed by market participants as a response to a directive issued by the CBN. The CBN directive contains new tenure guidelines for commercial banks’ Executive Directors (EDs), Deputy Managing Directors (DMDs), and Managing Directors (MDs).
Several top bank executives, including Zenith Bank’s former Deputy Managing Director Adaora Umeoji, have been compelled to resign following the CBN’s disclosure of the new guidelines.
Zenith Bank which boasts a market capitalization of N835 billion ($1.81 billion) is the largest listed financial services group on the Nigerian Exchange.
It ranks as Nigeria’s most profitable bank and the seventh-most valuable company on the local bourse.
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