By Eric Elezuo
Come September 11, 2020, the irrepressible Managing Director/CEO of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, will add an additional feather to his cap when he is bestowed with the Forbes Best of Africa award by Forbes Africa in conjunction with Foreign Investment Network (FIN) for his contributions to the financial services sector in the country and the African continent. It must be noted that earlier in the year, Adeduntan bagged the much celebrated Cranfield University School of Management Distinguished Alumnus of the year Award. Without mincing words, the silent achiever is not new to awards.
An all rounder, the trained veterinary doctor turned visionary banker, has practically conquered every aspect of human endeavour he found himself, leading the FirstBank to a height only imaginable as the banks marks 126 years of uninterrupted banking. It would not be forgotten in a hurry that a media intelligence report presented by P+ Measurement Services, placed Adeduntan atop the list of most prominent and reputable Nigerian banking CEOs in Q2 2020. As the first quarter of 2020 was winding down, he was a guest lecturer at the Edinburgh School of Business where he spoke authoritatively on financial institutions’ role as drivers of financial inclusion
With all these super human achievements trailing him, only a few persons would believe that the indefatigable Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan is just 51 years old. He was 51 on May 7, 2019. This is as a result of the achievements that have trailed his young life. Earlier in the year, Dr. Adeduntan bagged an international award as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom. This is even as FirstBank was named the biggest mover of 2019 according to KPMG Report within the same period. It is not incorrect to say that Adeduntan is a creative achiever.
Born Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan on May 7, 1969, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the banker started his early education at Ibadan Municipal Government Primary School (IMG), Adeoyo between1975 and 1981, for his primary education before proceeding to Urban Day Grammar School, Old Ife Road, Ibadan, where he had his secondary schooling. His excellent to duties created a space for him to become the Deputy Senior Prefect in his final year in 1986.
In the same year, he was admitted to the University of Ibadan in to study Veterinary Medicine, and qualified in 1992 as a Veterinary Surgeon, a profession he hardly practiced before switching over to financial management.
Consequently, in 1994 he joined Afribank (Nig) Plc., and was posted to the Ibadan Main Branch as a graduate trainee. He spent 18 months there learning the ropes, and working in various areas of banking operations including cash management, clearing, credit risk management, and foreign operations.
Between September 1995 and May 2002 Adeduntan worked with Arthur Andersen Nigeria, rising to become manager in the firm’s financial services industry business, leveraging on the 18 months mentorship he received at Afribank. In this role, he led and managed the statutory audit of a number of leading Nigerian banks.
In August 2000, he served as an instructor at the Andersen World-Wide Induction training for new hires in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He also served as the lead instructor for the Local Office Basic Accounting Training and Induction course in 1999. It was while he was with Arthur Andersen that qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000.
With more feathers to his cap, Adeduntan moved to the financial services industry in KPMG as a senior manager in June 2002, and served diligently till October 2004 when he bowed out. At KPMG, he co-pioneered the firms’ financial risk management advisory services. He was also a KPMG-accredited Trainer and facilitated several internal training programmes.
When he left KPMG in 2004 to study, he pursued a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Cranfield School of Management, where he was a British Chevening Scholar. He graduated in September 2005.
Armed with yet another great feather, Adeduntan moved to Citibank Nigeria Limited in 2005 where he became the Senior Vice-President (General Manager) and Chief Financial Officer. He was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the bank’s financial and product control functions, quality assurance and operational risk management. he was on hand to assist the bank in its recapitalisation during the banking consolidation era.
In October 2007, he called it quits with Citibank, and a month later, pitched tent with the Africa Finance Corporation, as the pioneer Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager.
His achievement at the AFC includes leading the team that secured an A3/P2 investment grade international credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service in March 2014. This made the Africa Finance Corporation the second highest-rated lending financial institution in Africa.
In July 2014, he was appointed an Executive Director/Group Chief Financial Officer of FirstBank, where he was responsible for the bank’s financial control, internal control and enhancement, business performance management, treasury and procurement functions.
On Monday January 4, 2016, Adeduntan succeeded Bisi Onasanya, and assumed duty as Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, and its commercial banking subsidiaries including FBN UK, FBN Ghana, FBN DRC, FBN Guinea, FBN Gambia, FBN Mortgages, FBN Senegal, FBN Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian Limited.
He coordinated his functions so professionally that on December 7, 2016, he was awarded the 2016 Banker of The Year award by the Leadership Newspaper “For refusing to ‘go with the flow’ even when the temptation was high and the reward substantial, and for reminding his colleagues that banking is nothing without integrity”.
A man of many beneficial and influential parts, Adeduntan currently sits on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and as a non-executive director on the boards of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), FBN Bank U.K. Ltd., Universal Payments Plc., and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.
In just four years at the helm of affairs at FirstBank, Adeduntan has turned the tables and rewrote banking narratives, delving into all aspects of human endeavour to see to the development of SMEs, youth entrepreneuship among many others.
In his speech at the kick off of FirstBank’s celebration of 125 years of unbroken business operations, Adeduntan hinted as follows:
“From that very modest beginning in 1894, First Bank has traversed an incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to its customers and supporting the building of the modern-day Nigeria and indeed, West Africa, including our early pivotal role as the monetary and fiscal policy regulator for the entire West African region,” he said.
“As a long-standing institution, which even predates Nigeria as a unified entity, FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with our involvement in every stage of national growth and development.
“At the amalgamation, independence and through the seasons ever after, we have been here marching hand-in-hand with you and our dear nation. We have enabled financial, technological, industrial and societal advancements, achieving very many firsts over time.”
Adeduntan has seen to the sponsorship of prolific enterprises to guide the youths on the right path. These include the African Fashion Week which took place at the Oriental Hotel and Youth Empowerment Seminar at the Harbour Point Event Centre. These shows among a whole lot have a lot of testimonials following.
Adesola is married to Mrs. Adenike Adeduntan and together they have three wonderful children.
For your ability to change the game, make positive impact in the economic advancement of Nigeria, and very many other countries, especially where FirstBank domiciles, and not forgetting bagging the prestigious Forbes Awards, you are once again our Boss of the Week. Congratulations sir!