Published: March 24, 2015
Ecobank’s CEO talks succession planning; Citi’s Egyptian exit; Tunisia’s borrowing; and more.
Passing the torch
As Albert Essien prepares to step down as Ecobank’s chief executive, he says the bank will remain an independent African institution.
During 25 years with Ecobank, Albert Essien (pictured) has been responsible for taking the group into many of its African markets and most of its international ones. It’s been a “fulfilling, challenging but fruitful career”, Essien says, culminating in his appointment last March as chief executive. But at the age of 60, he’ll step down at the bank’s annual general meeting in the early summer, and he’s now thinking about the business he leaves to his successor, yet to be named.
“The important thing is to get a good person, better than me, to move the group to the next level,” he tells EMEA Finance during a visit to London in early 2015. He adds: “We need to have a better use of our footprint, in terms of cross-border trade, payments, collections. We spent some money on technology, and we should make sure that technology spend is translated into higher productivity, efficient delivery of services and products. We have a big footprint, but so what? The important thing is