Meet Abiola Bawuah, UBA’s 1st female CEO for Africa

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Meet Abiola Bawuah, UBA's 1st female CEO for Africa
Meet Abiola Bawuah, UBA’s first female CEO

Abiola Bawuah is the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc’s new Chief Executive Officer for African operations. The Nigerian bank, with branches worldwide, announced this in a statement released today.

Abiola Bawuah, Ghanaian, will be at the helm of the company’s operations across Africa except for Nigeria. The move effectively makes Bawuah the first female CEO of UBA Plc, which also expands the number of female directors to eight.

In a statement to media outlets, UBA Group’s Board Chairman, Tony Elumelu, said that Abiola Bawuah had contributed tremendously to the company’s success.

“Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade. She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking, and stakeholder engagement. It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board,” Elumelu said.

Meet Abiola Bawuah, UBA's 1st female CEO for Africa

Who is Abiola Bawuah?

In 2014, Abiola Bawuah was named managing director and regional CEO of UBA, giving her oversight over the company’s operations in six countries, including Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Before joining UBA, Abiola Bawuah worked at Standard Chartered Bank, where she served as a business relationship officer. She also worked as a relationship manager at CAL Bank, Strategic African Securities as an authorised dealing broker, and Bentsi-Enchi and Letsa (now Bentsi-Enchil, Letsa and Ankomah) law firm as an investment office.

Bawuah grew up in Aflao, a town in Ghana and went to Achimota School, where she had her secondary education. She moved to Lagos and got a degree in Actuarial Science from the University of Lagos.

She also has a law degree from the University of London, a diploma in marketing from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and an Executive of Master of Business Administration (EMBA) in finance from the University of Ghana.

But her rise to fame didn’t come easy. In her memoir Chosen from the Darkness, she writes about growing up poor in Ghana and having to sell groundnut as a child.

She has now become a highly regarded and celebrated financial operator with leadership certification from high-ranking universities, including Harvard Business School, Columbia, University of New York, INSEAD and Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland.

A former UBA staff who spoke to Technext under anonymity described her style as “effusive, and she drives business, so she’s obviously a saleswoman, a charmer”

Other shakeups at UBA

A report from Nairametrics also highlighted other major shakeups at the leadership level of the bank. Chris Ofikulu has now been appointed Regional CEO of UBA West Africa. He has over two decades of banking experience spanning corporate, commercial, and retail banking. 

Read also: From locating ATMs to quickly hiding account balance, here’s all you need to know about the new UBA mobile app

Uzoechina Molokwu was appointed as Deputy Managing Director of UBA Ghana, subject to regulatory approvals in the West African country. Before now, he served as the Executive Director of Business Development at UBA Côte d’Ivoire. He has over 23 years of banking experience. 

Meet Abiola Bawuah, UBA's first female CEO
Meet Abiola Bawuah, UBA’s first female CEO

Ayokunle Olajubu will be the Managing Director/CEO of UBA Liberia, subject to local regulatory approvals. He currently drives compliance across African subsidiaries and has 30 years of banking experience in Nigeria and other African countries, including Sierra Leone, Cote D’Ivoire and the Gambia. 

Theresa Henshaw has been appointed as CEO of UBA UK, subject to local regulatory approvals. She was previously the DMD, Business Development, UBA America and joined the Group as ED, Business Development at UBA UK. 

Usman Isiaka, currently CEO, of UBA Sierra Leone, will be the Deputy CEO of UBA America, subject to local regulatory approvals. Adeyemi Adeleke, the former CEO of UBA, UK is now the Group Treasurer. Adeleke will be working to unlock the immense value in the Group’s multi-jurisdictional balance sheet, leveraging on its presence in 24 countries within and beyond Africa. 

The bank also announced the retirement of High Chief Samuel Oni, an independent non-executive Director, from the Board following the expiration of his tenure. He joined the UBA Group in January 2015 and served on the Board of the Group for eight years.

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