A thorough-bred Ecobanker on the saddle
Ecobank Nigeria has a tradition of selecting its chief executive officer from within its fold. This is to ensure whoever sits on the saddle to direct affairs at the pan-African bank has its DNA also running in his system. The appointment of Patrick Akinwuntan as its Managing Director and Regional Executive followed that tradition.
A seasoned banker and financial expert, Akinwuntan assumes headship of the continental financial institution 22 years after joining its fold. He can therefore be correctly described as a thorough-bred who is steeped in the history, tradition and culture of the bank, having served in different capacities, some in very strategic positions in the Group, in Ghana, Togo and Nigeria.
Before his current appointment, he had been Group Executive Director on the Board of Ecobank Transnational International (ETI), and was, earlier, Executive Director in Ecobank Nigeria.
Akinwuntan is fully aware of the high expectations that have trailed his appointment to the headship of one of Africa’s foremost financial institutions, and is passionate about bringing the bank’s famed tradition of customer friendliness to Nigeria’s banking public.
“My mandate is to deliver the brand promise of Ecobank as a leading financial institution in Nigeria in the hearts of our customers by ensuring that we treat our customers well when they choose to open a bank account with us or do their payments, collections, savings and financing through us”, Akinwuntan said, of his new role. “In this manner, we will realize the vision of our founders, which is that Ecobank is the pan-African financial institution that empowers every African to realize their ambitions through convenient, accessible and affordable banking products and services delivered at a price point that is affordable to all, and gives return to shareholders”.
He said the foundation that would ensure the bank served the needs of its numerous consumers, as well as commercial and corporate clients through its digital solutions such as Ecobank Mobile app, EcobankPay, Rapidtransfer, XpressAccount, Xpress Point agents, Ecobank OMNI and Bank Collect, had already been laid. The bank had also built an unrivalled banking platform in Africa, and earned several accolades within and outside the continent in the past decade, which is a testimony of the transformational roles it plays in the various markets on the continent.
“We will therefore continue to leverage the deep market knowledge of Nigeria that we have, our unrivalled pan-African reach, digital platforms, Ecobank branches and Ecobank agencies (EcobankXpress) to empower our customers, drive commerce, financial inclusion and support Nigeria’s renewed focus on becoming the trade hub of Africa”, Akinwuntan said.
Akinwuntan has spent the greater part of his working career in Ecobank, the reason he can confidently say he is eminently qualified for his new assignment. His experience in and outside Nigeria places him in good stead to steer the bank to new heights, in a competitive industry that is increasingly being shaped by technology.
“My combined and diverse Group and country experience built over 20 years, and covering virtually all key aspects of banking and the track record and trust built amongst my colleagues and customers of the bank will serve me well in this new role”, he says. “I am indeed privileged for the opportunity to serve in the noble mission of Ecobank, bringing financial integration to our continent, and it is a particular pleasure to be able to now do so in Nigeria”.
Before berthing his career ship at Ecobank, Akinwuntan, a chattered accountant, had been a Supervisor at Ernst and Young International (Chattered Accountants), Lagos, from 1987 to 1991; Deputy Manager, Corporate Finance, Credit and Marketing, Manufacturing Merchant Bank Plc, Lagos, from 1991 to 1993; General Manager, Springfountain Management Consultants, Lagos, from 1993 to 1996.
He joined Ecobank in 1996 as Head of Commercial and Regional Head in Ecobank Nigeria. In the 22 years he has spent in the bank, he has held several senior and executive positions in the Ecobank Group within and outside Nigeria, including Executive Director, Retail Bank, Ecobank Nigeria; Group Chief Finance Officer, ETI; Group Executive Director, Operations and Technology.
Before his new appointment, Akinwuntan was the Group Executive, Consumer Banking at Ecobank. In that capacity, he was responsible for leading the bank’s consumer banking business across its global network of 40 countries, 36 of which are on the African continent.
A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA), Akinwuntan holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, and is an alumnus of the Senior Executive Programme (SEP) of the Harvard Business School. He is also an honorary senior member of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, and an associate of the Chattered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria.