It just dawned on me that I do not know the MD of GTB and that Kennedy Uzoaka who is the MD of UBA is all but invincible.
This seems to be the trend in the system as it looks like we have been saddled with a different class of MDs. A class I will want to call the Intern MD.
Who is the intern MD? The Intern MD is a long-suffering albeit very loyal and brilliant banker who has over the years shown very clearly a powerful skill set which really has nothing to do with his technical capacity but points at a very essential value- loyalty and willingness to serve
80% of our giant financial institutions can be said to be run by Intern MDs.
How did we get here? In political science, we were thought about manifest destiny. This is the unintended consequence of policy action.
So in trying to strengthen Corporate Governance in the system on the back of the distress that hit the system, authorities ended the situation where one man was Chairman and MD at the same time.
The position was divided and made for different people. The manifest destiny of this threw up the father/son combo or the Husband/wife combo and in some cases the sugar Daddy/girlfriend combo
The banks were firmly held by dynastic families and they ran the institutions with the verve and favor that comes with that drama
Then policy changed. Seeming democratization of the environment was thrown up and this brought the age of the owner-managed and mercurial bankers
It was in this era, the megastars emerged. Elumelu, Ovia, Akingbola, Ibru and the rest
They moved like pop stars. They had the vision, youth, energy, and passion to drive these institutions from mere backwater players to major international concerns.
Daily we could feel their movements. The increase in share capitalization was a joke to them as they raised the capital almost effortlessly driving the financial system into advanced markets.
Then another policy came. Tenure limits. And immediately the megastars had to leave the stage.
However the difference between these ones and the Balogun’s is that they were still on top of their games, they still had age on their side and the push to conquer was still flowing in their blood
So within 24hours, almost all of them named successors and the dawn of the Intern MD hit us.
Apart from Herbert at Access and maybe Ebenezer at Zenith the rest fall very perfectly into this mold.
So how does this work? The Intern MD sees his appointment solely as luck and his closeness to the source of power. Hence his actions and movements are a direct reflection of the whims of the source.
I even hear that some sources attend bankers committee meetings and come back to brief the Intern MD. So the Intern MD is still in a subservient and docile position
The immediate effects of this situation, are a dearth of vision since it’s not yours, more red tape, sluggish decision making, a dearth of innovative ideas, and a zombified management.
I was with a huge entrepreneur who is embarking on a $35m expansion project which would employ 250 workers and deepen engagements in a critical sector and his lament was palpable.
He was talking to a management team that didn’t seem to understand the transaction dynamics and as such couldn’t even relay very clearly his prayers to the source thereby almost killing the relationship.
This is the stark immediate consequence of this manifest policy that has thrown up the Intern MD.
One would want to ask what role the Board plays in this. Same you would say. All you have to do is take a cursory look at the Board composition of some of these Banks and you will find a complete village meeting, secondary School alumni, inlaws, and lovers.
There you see your answer. It’s not all that dark though as the system seems to be working especially if we are to believe the figures that are churned out as Profits regularly.
But it’s like driving a car with a misfiring plug, you will get to your destination but would it be a smooth ride?
I keep quiet.
Editor in Chief
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