Zenith Bank Plc: Sustaining Industry Leadership by Quality Management

High quality executive capacity that is in command at Zenith Bank Plc is the strength behind the stunning operating results that are consistently coming from Zenith Heights – the bank’s headquarters in Victoria Island.Deployment ofa team of talented managers, competent in various operational fields, powered by technology to provide superior financial solutions is the secret of the bank’s success.

Zenith Bank is a very good case study of abanking organization that sprouted and grew out of a dry ground of Nigerian banking industry in which more than a hundred of banks closed shopat the same period it thrived. Thebank’s outstanding performance reflects its unique management quality that clearly defines its operational targets and strategy from year to year and runs towards the goal aggressively and consistently until it wins.

By thinking outside the box, the Zenith team continues torevolutionize customer service model backed by effective deployment of technology. It is a team of people who stay ahead of the marketplace to anticipate and provide solutions to customers’ needs. The market has no option but to follow – which has given the bank some of the fastest growth records ever registered in the Nigerian banking industry.

Without any business combination anywhere along the line, Zenith Bank stands as Nigeria’s banking industry leader by profit volume and the second largest banking organization in the country with an asset base in excess of N6.3 trillion at the end of 2019. How a business organization, in just a quarter of a century, in a solo mission, ascended to the heights of industry leadership in the entire economy is a record breaker in the world of business enterprise.

Zenith Bank’s stunning growth record is possible because it has people with able hands on deck at every angle of the business enterprise. Someone is not slack in marketing push; another isn’t failing in customer service innovation and the crew that provides the technological support isn’t giving excuses to the service delivery army. The high rate of growth of the bank speaks volumes about what can be accomplished by a people united in purpose and led by an able management team.

The bank maintainsconsistent growth in shareholder value despite the ups and downs in the operating environment that mark the Nigerian banking space. Management’s strategy for accomplishing that is to keep profit margin high against high volume of revenue.The bank has consistently maintained one of the highest net profit margins in the banking industry and is also one of the biggest revenue earners in the business.

The bank is not the biggest revenue generatorin the banking industry but it is the biggest profit earner, which is made possible by its leading profit margin. This is the ability to extract the highest possible kobo profit from the naira of gross earnings. The success is repeated year after year because the managers in charge of driving revenue are delivering on target and those keeping costs within the defined limits aren’t bursting their quotas. The consistency of impressive corporate results reflects consistency of management actions.

Zenith Bank closed the 2019financial year reaching new peaks in revenue and profit at N662 billion and N209 billion respectively. This is one of the biggest revenue volumes among listed companies in Nigeria. It is also the first bank in Nigeria to cross into the N200-billion net profit threshold. This is a sustained growth in after tax profitsince 2014. Zenith Bank has held the position of the largest profit earner in the Nigerian banking industry since 2012.

The superior performance credentials of the Zenith team have continued to attract local and international recognitions. The latest is the recognition as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the recently released Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020. This marks the third consecutive year that Zenith Bank has made it to the number one banking brand in Nigeria with a brand value of $287 million and market capitalization of $1.62 billion, ranking 392 in the 2020 global ranking of banks.

The bank’s new group managing director/CEO, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, took over the leadership of the bank with a new zeal in June last year.He is a chartered accountant with about 30 years of experience in banking. Coming in with a renewed strength, he geared up the operating momentum of the bank through the second half, an indication that he has what it takes to shoulder the responsibilities.

He was trained in reputable institutions of learning in Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and is a vastly experienced banker and financial expert.He obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Strategy and certificate in Macroeconomics from the Oxford University, England. He also undertook extensive executive level business education in Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University Business School, the Harvard Business School and Lagos Business School.

He has been in Zenith Bank since 2002 and has gone through the facets ofthe bank’s governance structure. He has handled strategic operations covering internal control and audit, new business and branch development, risk assets management, treasury functions, top level corporate, multinationals and public institutional relationships management. All the way, Onyeagwu has demonstrated a high level of professionalism, competence, integrity and commitment that stand him out as the right and proper leader for the Zenith Bank team at this time.

Next in rank on the management team is Dr. Adaora Umeoji, who is deputy managing director of the bank. She brings in her deep knowledge in inspirational leadership and people management. She has over 20 years cognate banking and broad executive management experience and rose through the ranks to the commanding heights of the bank’s executive leadership.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Jos, an MBA from University of Calabar and a doctorate degree in business administration from Apollos University, Great Falls, Montana, USA. She was trained in strategic thinking and management at Wharton Business School, Pennsylvania, USA and also holds a certificate in management from Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.

The top management team of the bank includes four executive directors that are in charge of the broad divisions of the bank’s operations. They include Umar Shuaib Ahmed, who in his 27 years of banking experience, has held several management positions in ZenithBank. He has excelled in supervision of branch operations andstrategic business units as wellzonal administrative responsibilities.

Umar is a graduate inaccountancy from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and also holds M.Sc. degree in banking &finance from Bayero University, Kano.

Dr. Temitope Fasoranti is executive director at Zenith Bank, who has spent over 28 years in the Nigerian Banking Industry. He has performed creditably in overseeing regionalbanking operations and other key functionscoveringoil &gas sector, conglomeratesgroup and agriculture desk.

He is also well experiencedintreasury operations, corporate finance, corporate banking, retail banking andrisk management. He holds a B.Sc. degree in economics, a Master’s degree in economics and a Ph.D. in economics all from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Mr. Dennis Olisa is executive director at Zenith Bank, reinforcing the management team with his wide experience that covers treasury andbanking operations, credit risk management, telecommunications andoil and gas.He is also experienced in internal controls[internal audit and inspection] as well as branch management and coordination of zonal banking operations.

Olisa is a chartered accountant and holds an MBA and has put in 22 years of service in Zenith Bank. He has attended several management development programmes in France, the USA and the United Kingdom.


Mr. Henry Oroh is executive director at Zenith Bank and has worked in various groups and departments within the Zenith Bank group. His expertise spans banking operations, information technology, treasury and marketing. He also has a wide exposure in manufacturing, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, public sector, consumer as well as corporate banking and business development services.

He has come to the board of Zenith Bank with strong competencies in credit & marketing, operations, information technology, treasury and impressive leadership skills. He has served asexecutive director in Zenith Bank Ghana Limited where he became the managing director/chief executive officer in 2016. While in Ghana, Oroh successfully spearheaded a phenomenal growth of the Zenith brand both within the Ghanaian market and the West African sub-region.

He holds a B.Sc.degree in accountancy from the University of Benin, Edo State and an MBA from the Lagos State University as well as an LLB degree from the University of London. He has attended several leadership programmes and executive management courses in Nigeria, New York, Paris and the United Kingdom.