Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank), Mr. Bisi Onasanya has emerged the winner of the 2012 EMEA Finance “CEO of the Year Award”. At the well-attended ceremony, organised under the aegis of Annual African Banking Awards, now in its fifth edition, First Bank of Nigeria Limited also won the “Best Local Bank in Nigeria for 2012”.
FirstBank had won two previous editions of the award in 2009 and 2010. The African Banking Awards is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence. Individual nominees are judged by their ability to deliver shareholder returns and gain strategic advantage in terms of market visibility and positioning, while institutions are appraised based on the performance of their critical fundamentals.
According to Christopher Moore, Publisher and Chief Executive of EMEA Finance, Onasanya’s choice was predicated on his prudent management of the Bank such that today, FirstBank ranks amongst the world’s most respected financial institutions in terms of best global practices.
“Onasanya continues to charter a course that secures the bank’s reputation as ‘world-class’. The Bank is financially strong and secure. His nearly two decades of dedication and commitment to the Bank and its growth have rewarded customers and shareholders alike. We are excited to be able to celebrate his medium and long term vision for the Bank, and the daily incremental quality, performance and professional enhancements that he has instituted”, he said.
In the same vein, FirstBank was applauded for generating revenue and growing its profit over several years. Moore added: “FirstBank is relentless in its search for growth and opportunity. Over the past twelve months, the bank reached several milestones including opening up its 700th branch, and introducing its 1,900 ATM, which is the highest number within the Nigerian banking industry. The bank substantially increased its profits in the first half of 2012 reaching N46bn (US$292mn), and it has continued to build its international presence across key markets like in the U.A.E. where it recently established a representative office.
“The success and frequent international recognition won by the bank is a tribute to the bank’s executive leadership team, and the efforts of all FirstBank’s employees”, he said.
Commenting on the award, Onasanya said the bank will continue to build on its performance even as it seeks to win greater market share from retail and small business customers.
“We plan to grow in priority segments, especially the retail and emerging corporates,” he said, adding that “We also intend to continue strengthening our service proposition, including through optimising our distribution mix. (Leaner branches) along with our traditional brick-and-mortar branches and the ATMs will sit at the heart of our plan to optimally reach every bankable Nigerian where he or she needs financial services. I make bold to say that we are going to win the award again and again”.