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VENTURES AFRICA – Reports have surfaced that top executives at pan-African bank, Ecobank Transnational Bank (ETB) have asked Thierry Tanoh, the Group CEO, to step down after an email was sent to the interim Chairman, Andre Siaka.
The email was sent by the Deputy CEO and Executive Director (ED) of Corporate and Investment banking, Albert Essien and co-signed by Evelyne Tall Daouda, Deputy Group CEO and COO, Patrick Akinwuntan, Group ED for Domestic Banking and Eddy Ogbogu, Group ED for Operations and Technology, according to a report by Reuters.
No specific complaints where however levied against Tanoh but it claims that the bank has been experiencing negative returns under his governance and is asking Tanoh to step down as a solution to the crisis.
“We have contributed in building the bank and wish to see it succeed. This will be possible if the situation comes to an end. We believe that (Tanoh) should now step down for the interest of the institution,” the e-mail revealed.
This action might have been motivated by a recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enquiry into the affairs of the bank when its former Finance director, Laurence do Rego sent a letter to the regulatory body stating that the then Chairman, Kolapo Lawson and Thierry Tanoh planned to sell assets below market value, putting pressure on Rego to write off debts owned by Lawson and misquote the financial statements for 2012.
Although Lawson and Tanoh subsequently denied these allegations, SEC recommended that the bank pick a new chairman until a proper report on the investigation was given and asked KPMG to conduct independent audit of the bank’s corporate governance.
This led to the resignation of the former Chairman who said he had no interest in chairing the governance review process of the bank, giving room for Andre Siaka to step in as interim chairman.
In accordance with SEC’s recommendation, an extraordinary general meeting will be held on the 3rd of March in Togolese capital of Lome where shareholders will vote on governance reforms and determine if Tanoh remains at the helm of affairs or he is dismissed by the bank.