UK Ekeh
UK Eke, Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings

By Emeka Ejere

Elder Urum Kalu Eke, MFR, Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings PLC is set to take a bow from the boardroom of the oldest surviving financial establishment.

The astute banking sector player and erudite administrator who has been in the saddle at Nigeria’s longest running banking institution since January, 2016 had previously served as Executive Director, Public Sector South, First Bank of Nigeria Ltd. and later as Executive Director, South within the same institution.

An astute administrator, he is credited as having brought his wealth of experience and very prodiguous managerial and motivational skills in the nurturing and expansion of FirstBank’s Public Sector, Retail and Private Banking segments.

In the course of what has turned out to be an 11-year sojourn at the Bank, UK Eke was also to variously serve as Non-Executive Director at First Bank of Nigeria Limited, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, FBN Bank (UK) Limited and First Pension Custodian Limited.

On the national public service plane, UK Eke was in 2017 appointed to the board of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (Sovereign Wealth Fund), where among other schedules, he chaired the Externally Managed Investment

Committee and helped the Authority to drive capital raise and other capital market engagements. He has also chaired several committees for the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIBN) and the Institute of Directors (IoD).

An indigene of Abiriba in Abia State, UK Eke had attended the prestigious Government College Umuahia before proceeding to study Political Science at the University of Lagos. He also holds an MBA in Project Management Technology from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.

He has also attended several Executive Management and Board training programs at Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School, IESE Barcelona, China European International Business School, Shanghai, China, International Institute for Management and Development Lausanne, Switzerland, Wharton Business School and Lagos Business School.

A consummate team player, Eke first joined the board of First Bank of Nigeria Ltd in January 2011.

An astute professional and fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, the Rotary Club International, Institute of Management Consultants, Institute of Directors and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Eke had previously been engaged as Executive Director, Regional Business, Lagos & West at Diamond Bank Plc and on the board of Diamond Bank

Du Benin, and Diamond Capital before moving over to join the First Bank Group.

But even before then, his early working career had seen him engage with Deloitte Haskins & Sells International where he rose to the position of Audit Senior.

A rounded financial services professional, UK Eke has close to four decades of cognate experience in the field and spanning segments like financial services, strategy, auditing, consulting, taxation, process re-engineering and capital market operations.

According to a statement from FBN Holdings Plc, Eke’s notice of retirement is coming on the heels of the successful completion of his two-term tenure and his Notice of Retirement which he tendered on August 10, 2021.

The statement also confirmed that the formal retirement would take effect at the end of the current Financial Year on December 31, 2021.

Mr. Eke’s retirement follows from a 35 years’ career in financial services, strategy, auditing, consulting, taxation, process re-engineering and capital market operations. He has spent almost 11 years in the FBNHoldings Group, serving meritoriously in the last six years as Group Managing Director. He has been able to build sustainable synergies across the FBNHoldings Group, fostering collaborations to maximize business development opportunities with diverse stakeholders globally,; the statement outlined.

Continuing, the statement then went on to zero in on some more detail, and with accompanying numbers to boot, of the gains that UK Eke’s sterling leadership had brought to the bank:

‘His tenure has witnessed an upsurge in value creation for shareholders and other stakeholders, with a diversified and healthier portfolio. Remarkably, as at January 01, 2016, FBNHoldings share price was N5.13 and market capitalization of N175b trading at price to book of 0.29; whereas comparatively as at October 26, 2021, the price was N12.40, with market capitalization of nearly N445b and price to book of 0.58.’

A recipient of the Deloitte Distinguished Alumni Award and Nigeria’s National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), Eke was recently named recipient of the prestigious Zik Prize in Professional Leadership.

A philanthropist, Eke is Founder and Chairman, Elder K.U. Eke Memorial Foundation, Patron, Lagos State Council, Boys’ Brigade Nigeria and a Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Club International.

He is also the Chairman Advisory Board, Lifeforte International High School, Ibadan and recipient of Nigeria’s National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).