Nigerian Stock Exchange – who will be the next CEO?

Nigerian media has been writing about the succession of acclaimed Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, set to withdraw as Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (www.nigerianstockexchange.com) in November 2010. She had pledged to stand down several times, linked to a planned demutualisation for the NSE.
This Day newspaper reported that Lance Musa Elakama on 31 March quit as Assistant Director-General of the NSE, saying there was a crisis on the succession. He said he will become a trader on the NSE: “Even though I was denied the number one seat at the Exchange, I am fulfilled, because I was part of the team that built the stock market from a market capitalisation of N171 billion to N13 trillion in 2008. I am fulfilled because the Exchange has several other capable hands that can provide the needed leadership. The Exchange as a system runs an auto cruise.”
Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke said that it had been agreed in 2008 that the four top managers will retire in line with the restructuring and this had been approved by the Council. Two former General Managers – Mrs. Yinka Idowu and Mr. Henry Onyekuru – have resigned in line with the agreement and she and Mr Elakama remained. The latter had initially changed his mind and stayed on to bid for the number 1 job, but now seems to have backed down after opposition.
According to the report, she said nobody was forced to resign and the NSE had a 10-year succession plan: “We decided that we should groom the young ones among us. The decision to restructure was not decided by one man, never, it was the management’s decision and engaged Accenture, a world renowned management consulting firm, to carry out the restructuring.”
Daily Champion newspaper mentions 2 potential DGs: Mr Kene Okafor, General Manager, New Products Development; and Mr Binus Yaroe, General Manager Quotations and Listing. It notes that challenges will include restoring confidence in the market after a series of crises across Nigeria’s financial and banking sectors, following up a stalled dematerialisation exercise, developing new tradeable products such as derivatives, futures, options, and bond instruments, and further integration of African securities exchanges.
Prof Okereke-Onyiuke has been CEO since January 2000, after joining the NSE in 1983 when she came back from working at the New York Stock Exchange as Exchange Services Manager and Systems Consultant (1976-1983). She has achieved many awards for exceptional leadership and academic excellence, including Officer of the Order of the Niger for distinguished service to nationhood (2001). She is the first woman to head an African stock exchange, and possibly the second worldwide.
Major achievements at NSE include establishing the Central Securities Clearing System Limited (www.cscsnigerialtd.com) as Project Director. It was incorporated in 1992 and started operations in 1997 and, according to its website, offers T+3 settlement (four days after trading). Prof Okereke-Onyiuke was recently the Chair of the African Stock Exchanges Association (www.africansea.org).

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