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Encomiums as Waheed Olagunju bows out from BoI after 30 years of service

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Waheed Olagunju

Retired Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises, Bank of Industry (BOI), Dr. Waheed Olagunju, has been commended for his contributions towards the growth of the Development Finance Institution (DFI) over a period of almost 3 decades.The commendations were made during the send-forth dinner organised by the Bank for Dr. Olagunju upon his retirement ahead of his 60th birthday after serving the bank for 28 years.

BOI Chairman, Alhaji Aliyu AbdulRahman Dikko, said Dr. Olagunju was part of the team that transformed the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) to the Bank of Industry (BOI) having joined the bank from the media in 1990 as Head of the Corporate Communications Department and rose to become the bank’s Company Secretary, a position he occupied for sixteen years after which he was appointed Executive Director in 2012.

During the six years that he served as ED, Dr Olagunju at different times also acted as the bank’s Managing Director.In his words: “The bank will definitely never forget you as your name will be written in gold in the history of the bank”.He said during the period Olagunju was in charge of the bank, he and his management team were responsible for improving the bank’s international rating, a move that aided the DFI’s access to different international lines of credit.He said Olagunju also brought out the brand of BOI to the public domain, pointing out that the bank’s television impact programme series that he initiated resulted in milestone achievements for the bank.

“We do not see Dr Olagunju leaving BOI as such, because we believe we can come to you anytime, you will be an extension of BOI and you will continue to be our ambassador in taking the bank to greater heights, “he said.

Also, the Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Olukayode Pitan, said working with Dr. Olagunju in the last one year and half has been great and rewarding without any problem whatsoever, stressing that he is a very humble and knowledgeable person who is endowed with considerable institutional memory.

“If you want to know anything about BOI just ask him. He has mental records that he also supports with relevant documents.He said courtesy of the Impactful Communication Programmes that he handled, the bank has received local and global recognitions as the foremost leading DFI.

“To let you know how we feel about him, the bank has not had a send-forth party for its staff for a very long time, so for us to do this, it means that we value his immense contributions to the bank. We wish you well and we know that even when you are outside, you will represent us well.” He has had a very good career and I am glad we were able to work together amicably. I am happy for him that he is retiring in sound health.” he concluded.

Some of his colleagues also acknowledged his tenacity for details and perfection, with others extolling his unusual humility and kindness as a boss and go-to leader whenever challenges arose.

Responding, Dr. Olagunju said the DFI was crucial to Nigeria’s development particularly at this stage of the country’s development.
“I have worked with six Managing Directors in my 28 years career and it has been rewarding. I keep telling people that money is not our problem in Nigeria for any potentially viable enterprise as the international financial system is awash with suitable resources that, based on its double AA international rating, could be mobilized by BOI and its foreign partners in support of such ventures. BOI needs the support of the government and everybody to continue to serve this great country. He called for prayers and divine guidance for those who occupy leadership positions in BOI and the country in general. “I have spent almost half of my life in this bank and I know a lot about this bank and what it can do for Nigeria,” he said.

Olagunju added: “This is a bank that shows appreciation to any staff that does well. Hard work does not kill. BOI is a bank worth dying for; Nigeria is a country worth dying for. We should do everything possible to ensure that this country realises its economic potentials and the bank has very important roles to play in this regard.”

He noted that Nigeria has lost many years of development and has a lot of catching up to do, saying: “Nobody will develop the country for us; we have to develop it by ourselves. I want to thank the Chairman, the Managing Director, my colleagues in Management and on the Board and their predecessors, other bank staff as well as current and previous supervising Ministers and all our domestic and foreign development partners for their support because all what they said I accomplished would not have been possible without their backing”.

 

WAHEED OLAGUNJI’S MILESTONE

Dr Waheed A Olagunju joined the Bank of Industry’s precursor institution the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) in 1990 as a Senior Manager and rose to the position of Executive Director  (Business Development) in 2012 during which he had responsibilities for Strategic Planning, New Business Development, External & Intergovernmental Relations, Legal Services, Corporate Secretariat and Corporate Communications. He acted as Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer between April and May 2014. He was subsequently reassigned as Executive Director, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in August 2014. Under his leadership of the SME Directorate, the bank’s annual lending to SMEs rose phenomenally to N5.6 billion in 2015 which represented 205% increase over the average annual lending of N1.8 billion to SMEs in previous years.

Between 15th February, 2016 and 27th May 2017 Dr Olagunju again acted as  Managing Director & CEO in addition to his responsibilities as Executive Director SMEs. Under his watch the bank recorded remarkable improvements especially regarding support for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). As at December 2016, the bank wide loans approved rose by 9% to N150 billion compared with N138.5 billion that was recorded in 2015. Disbursements to MSMEs also went up by 42% within the same period to N8billion from N5.6billion in 2015. The bank wide ratio of non-performing loans (NPL) reduced to 3.72% in 2016 from 5.75% in 2015. Also the Operating Profit Before Tax (PBT) rose to N17.4bn in 2016 from N11.95bn in 2015 which represented 46% increase. All these culminated in BOI’s ratings by international and domestic rating agencies being upgraded and affirmed by 2016. While Moody’s assigned BOI Aa1 in 2016 up from Ba3 of 2015, Agusto’s rating of AA- in 2016  was higher than A+ of 2015. AA+ assigned by Fitch in 2015 was affirmed in 2016.

In the last twenty eight (28) years Dr Olagunju headed five different departments/directorates in the bank. After leading the Corporate Communications Department for four years he was appointed Assistant Company Secretary and Secretary of the Executive Management Committee in 1994 and was subsequently appointed Company Secretary and Secretary to the Board in 1997. He held the position for fifteen (15) years until he was elevated to the Board in 2012 as Executive Director. It is instructive to note that he handled other responsibilities as General Manager Strategic Planning, Business Development and Corporate Communications concurrently with his duties as Company Secretary. Due to his versatility, Dr Olagunju consistently demonstrated extra-ordinary efficiency, competence, capacity and capability in successfully taking on higher responsibilities assigned to him in the course of his twenty seven (27) year banking career by the institution’s successive Managements and Boards of Directors. He accordingly stands out as one of the architects and strong drivers of BOI’s outstanding turnaround and transformation into one of Africa’s best Development Finance Institutions (DFI) that has earned the confidence of its domestic and foreign development partners, financiers, customers, international and Nigerian rating agencies and stakeholders in general.

 

Role in the transformation of NIDB into BOI:

Dr Olagunju who was actively involved with the reconstruction of NIDB into BOI (2000-2001) and the consolidation of the mandates of NIDB, the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI) and the National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND) into that of the Bank of Industry, worked very closely with then leadership of the Federal Ministry of Industry and Messrs KPMG, the consultancy firm that was engaged to handle the exercise. In the early years of BOI, Dr Olagunju also coordinated the diagnostic study of the bank that was undertaken between 2004 and 2005 by the Swedish Consultants (Messrs Swedish Development Advisers) who were appointed by the African Development Bank. He similarly played a leading role in the implementation of their recommendations that formed a vital input into BOI’s paradigm shift that triggered the bank’s rapid transformation in 2006. He has all along been a strong member of BOI’s Senior Management team, and later it’s Board of Directors, that has been driving the bank’s highly impressive performance.

 

Pre Banking Career:

Prior to his being head haunted to join the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank in August 1990, Dr Olagunju had a distinguished broadcast career with the Nigerian Television Authority between July 1981 and July 1990 in the course of which he rose meteorically to become Controller of News and Head of the Economy Desk. In that capacity he, amongst other achievements, developed a communication package that was designed to mobilise public support for Nigeria’s Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) that met with formidable resistance when it was launched in the mid eighties by the Federal Government.

 

Educational profile:      Dr Olagunju bagged his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Lagos in 1981 and 1984 respectively as well a professional certificate in Investment Appraisal and Risk Analysis from the Queens University, Canada in 2013 and a Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from the Paris School of Business in 2017.

Credit: Text by The Guardian & Bank of Industry

 

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