Polaris Bank Appoints Kunle Sonola as New CEO

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The new board will be led by the existing Chairman M K Ahmad. He will be joined on the board by six non-executive directors and three executive directors, bringing extensive experience in the banking and wider financial services sector in Nigeria and internationally, and expertise in corporate governance, human resource management, law and regulation.


Owner of the new Polaris Bank, Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL), has appointed Adekunle Sonola, as the managing director/CEO, of the bank.

This comes a day after announcing the compltion of a Share Purchase Agreement (SPA) for the acquisition of 100 percent of the equity in the bank.

As part of the change in ownership, SCIL has appointed a new independent board of directors to lead the bank’s growth strategy, a statement from the bank said.

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The new board will be led by the existing Chairman M K Ahmad. He will be joined on the board by six non-executive directors and three executive directors, bringing extensive experience in the banking and wider financial services sector in Nigeria and internationally, and expertise in corporate governance, human resource management, law and regulation.

Other board members include Abubakar Danlami Suleiman, non-executive director, Salma Mohammed, non-executive director, Adeleke Alex Adedipe, non-executive director, Ahmed Almustapha, non-executive director, Francesco Cuzzocrea, non-executive director, Olabisi Olubunmi Odunowo, non-executive director, Abdullahi S Mohammed, executive director, and Segun Opeke, executive director.

Polaris Bank appoints Ahmad Chairman, Adekunle Sonola MD » BROAD NEWS — WITHIN NIGERIA

Commenting on the acquisition and board transition, Ahmad said, “I would like to thank the outgoing board members profusely for their hard work and dedication over the last four years as we have established a strong governance structure and stabilised the bank.

I am very pleased with the progress we have been able to make, and that we have delivered on our mandate to prepare the bank for a return to private ownership. I am personally proud to have been asked to lead the bank into an exciting new future and I look forward to working with the new board and our core investors to build on the platform we have created.”

Speaking on behalf of SCIL, the new core investor, Sonola said, “We are excited to participate in the next phase of growth for Polaris Bank and to have been able to recruit such an experienced and diverse board of directors we are confident can lead Polaris Bank into a new era of sustainable growth.

This is an exciting time for the Nigerian financial services industry and we are committed to building on the strong foundations that have been established by the departing board. We would like to express our thanks for their service and wish them well.

“We have mandated the incoming management to develop an innovative, but sustainable growth strategy that prioritises the needs and aspirations of our current customers.”

Sonola has more than 33 years of experience in the African financial services sector, most recently as executive director of commercial banking at Union Bank Plc, prior to which he was the pioneer regional managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank East Africa and the director of investment banking at Standard Bank in South Africa.

Adekunle has also served on the boards of First Bank of Nigeria Plc where he chaired the board’s risk management committee and Airtel Nigeria Plc.

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With more than 37 years of experience leading and working across the private and public sectors, Ahmad has extensive knowledge of the financial services, telecoms and FMCG sectors. He has been the Chairman of Polaris Bank since 2018, overseeing the stabilisation of the bank and the introduction of best-practice corporate governance.

MK currently serves as the Chairman of the Interim Management Board of International Energy Assurance as well as Chairman of the Technical Committee of the National Council on Privatisation. He is also a Board Director of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and FBN Holdco. Prior to this MK served as the pioneer Director General of PENCOM.

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