The chairman and three non-executive directors of Diamond Bank have resigned from their positions. This was confirmed by the bank in a letter dated October 24 and sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
In the letter titled “RESIGNATION OF CHAIRMAN AND NON-EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS,” the bank notified “the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the public that the following Non-Executive Directors have resigned from the Board of Diamond Bank Plc with immediate effect.
1. Mr. Oluseyi Bickersteth
2. Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi
3. Mrs. Juliet Anammah
4. Mrs. Aisha Oyebode
“The directors are resigning for varied personal reasons, which will include focusing on their priorities. Diamond Bank will update the market with any further developments in due course,” the letter signed by Uzoma Uja, it’s company secretary, stated.
Mr Bickersteth was only in July this year appointed the bank’s chairman. He is National Senior Partner and Chief Executive Officer at KPMG Professional Services Limited.
It was gathered that the resignation of the officials followed a protracted dispute involving a major investor, Carlyle Group (NASDAQ CG), over the composition of the board of the bank.
The group had in August 2014 invested $147 million in Diamond Bank when the bank made a $305 million rights issue.
Announcing the investment November that year, the bank said the rights issue was to improve its Tier 1 capital, strengthen its balance sheet and support its continued growth plans.
It said the proceeds would be used for the development of its “IT infrastructure, working capital support and the expansion and refurbishment of its branches.”
Also commenting at the time, Genevieve Sangudi, Managing Director and Head of West Africa for the Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund, said the group was “very pleased to join the Diamond Bank Group as an investor.
“We are fully in support of the bank’s strategic goal to become one of the most successful Tier 1 banks in Nigeria and West Africa, and we look forward to supporting the Bank towards achieving this objective.”
Welcoming the investor, Uzoma Dozie, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (Designate) of Diamond Bank, said: “We are confident that Carlyle’s support will be fruitful and benefit all stakeholders. They bring global expertise in financial services and banking, having invested $4 billion globally in over 25 financial services companies, along with long-standing experience in emerging markets.
“Diamond Bank also stands to benefit from Carlyle’s extensive network of financial services specialists as we continue to strengthen our market position, expand our commercial and retail offerings and further enhance our operations. We are delighted to have Carlyle as a significant shareholder of the Bank.”
An insider said the dispute that led to Wednesday’s resignations centred on the insistence of the founder of the bank, Paschal Dozie, to have his son on the board.
It was, however, not clear whether this referred to Uzoma Dozie who had been the GMD/CEO of the bank since 2014.
The Carlyle Group, on its website describes itself as “a global alternative asset manager with $203 billion of assets under management across 129 funds and 141 fund of funds vehicles as of September 30, 2014.
“The group has expertise in various industries, including financial services and employs 1,700 people in 40 offices across six continents.
“Launched in 2011,The Carlyle Sub-Saharan Africa Fund and its affiliates by 2014 had invested almost $300 million across a variety of industries, including logistics, mining services, retail and financial services in countries, including Nigeria, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Southern Africa.
It was not clear at the time of this report how Wednesday’s development would affect the relationship between the bank and Carlyle Group.
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