Opinion

OPINION : New Dawn At AMCON As Gbenga Alade Mounts The Saddle

By Raheem Ajayi

Leadership defined by integrity, character and competence is critical to institutional strengthening and effective governance. The appointment of Gbenga Alade as the new Managing Director of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) is yet another proof that president Bola Ahmed Tinubu is committed to the ideal of fixing round pegs in round holes in the overriding interest of the country. Without doubt, Mr. Alade’s verifiable record of excellent performance in the financial sector offers a fresh breath of air at AMCON. A first-class graduate of the University of Lagos (and a masters degree from same university) with enviable career in the banking sector, the new AMCON helmsman is a perfect choice at this crucial moment of economic downturn when quality and efficient service is expected from highly motivated workforce and purposeful leadership across the public sector.

Alade is a thoroughbred professional with an uncommon zeal for excellence and determination. He has over thirty-five years of local and international experience in retail, commercial, and corporate banking and until his appointment to head AMCON the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank (UK). He had served as the relationship manager, corporate and commercial lending; regional director, credit risk management; head of risk management and compliance as well as a senior risk consultant and Managing Director/CEO, GT Bank (SL) Limited, a subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Company PLC (GTCO).

Mr. Alade’s expertise traverses corporate and commercial lending, management and business restructuring, turnaround management, product development and marketing, portfolio management, enterprise risk management and risk modelling and regulatory oversight.

The new head of AMCON is not oblivious of the challenge leading the charge as expected from stakeholders across the board.

He recognizes the onerous responsibility of delivering on the critical mandate of cleaning the financial system by acquiring the non-performing loans from banks and other eligible financial institutions (EFIs).

The new man at the saddle at AMCON can be trusted to ensure efficient management and accountable disposal of acquired assets to optimize returns and contribute to the overarching objectives of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu to make the Nigerian economy stronger and viable.

Alade’s exposure as enterprise-wide risk management professional with certification in Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) will be vital in deploying the much-needed knowledge for motivating AMCON towards exploring alternative strategies that include debt-equity swaps and effective legal procedure for timely retrieval and management of debts.

AMCON under the new leadership is expected to change the narrative of recurring debt evasion debtors and penchant for dubious technicalities to frustrate asset recovery.

The new AMCON has requisite experience and the know-how to make AMCON become an accelerated debt recovery corporation considering his track-record. While at the Bank of Montreal (2006 – 2009), the new AMCON chief was part of a team that implemented Base 2 capital accord and developed metrics for enterprise risk reporting.

His knowledge and skills in risk management and governance control process was brought to bear while serving as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank in Sierra Leone.

He is reputed to have managed the Bank to become number one in Sierra Leone in terms of service delivery and profitability which earned the bank four consecutive Best Bank Award in Sierra Leone for 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Mr. Alade won the Bankers’ CEO award in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

There’s no doubt Mr. President has made a good choice with the appointment of a new head of AMCON. There is a high expectation that Mr. Alade would use his wealth of experience to engage with stakeholders across the board in delivering on the crucial task of debt and asset recovery.

AMCON is expected to be more strategic and effective by collaborating with other agencies and by exploring alternative dispute resolution mechanisms as well as strengthening legal frameworks.

There is no doubt that stakeholders anticipate that the pedigree of the new AMCON chief executive would help prevent the accumulation of non-performing loans which often necessitate fostering of risk management regimes within the banking sector through responsible lending and effective enforcement of regulations.

The tasks ahead at AMCON require leveraging on capacity building of personnel to enhance robust decision-making processes as well as regulation and oversight functions. There is no doubt that Mr. Alade would live up to expectations.

Raheem Ajayi wrote from Abuja.

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