Kennedy Uzoka: a mechanical engineer who successfully ran one of Africa’s largest banks

When Kennedy Uzoka was nominated to succeed Philips Oduoza as Group Chief Executive of the United Bank for Africa Plc, Chairman Sir Tony Elumelu made a stark statement in his speech. “Kennedy brings an extremely strong skill set and is uniquely positioned to lead UBA through its next phase of growth,” said Elumelu.

Over the past 5 years, this strong skill set has repeatedly manifested itself in the impressive numbers the bank continues to produce year after year, despite having faced the challenges of two recessions and the fallout from an unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. Among other striking growth indices, Uzoka’s tenure saw the bank’s gross profit increase by 71.6%, from N383.64 billion in 2016 to N658.29 billion in 2021.

And very recently also, the successor of Uzoka was announced. You might be positively surprised by his consistently good results if you consider that Uzoka didn’t originally plan to be a banker.

The man who is now the group managing director of one of the largest banks in Africa obtained his first degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Benin, the best mechanical engineering student of the class of 1987. He has then obtained a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and became a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountants of Nigeria.

He holds an MBA from the University of Lagos, and much later in his career he also attended Harvard Business School in Boston USA, the International Institute of Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland and the London Business School, UK.

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His stay in the different business schools allowed him to be trained and certified in the advanced management program, leadership in financial institutions in Europe, the HR strategic course in the transformation of organizations, including competition and strategy .

banking career

Uzoka worked with Standard Trust Bank (STB) as Regional Manager-South East, Vice President-Northern Nigeria, Marketing Manager – Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Marketing Manager, Lagos and later , CEO of STB. When STB merged with UBA in 2005, it then joined the new UBA. He served as Managing Director and Group Head of UBA South Bank covering the Eastern, Southern, Mid-Western and Western States of Nigeria.

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He rose through the ranks, showing his strong skills in corporate banking. He has held various positions including Group Director, Resources, Group Human Resources Director, Executive Director, Resources, Deputy Managing Director UBA Bank for Africa and Deputy Managing Director/CEO UBA Africa managing subsidiaries in 18 countries across the continent. . Uzoka provided multi-level strategic support, overseeing 3 key strategic support areas in digital banking, information technology and personal banking; and also oversaw the Bank’s operations in New York and London.

His responsibilities covered a number of core business functions including Group Treasury, International Financial Institutions and Transaction Banking, Online Banking, UBA Pension Custodians, Consumer Banking and Cash Management Services.

In 2016, he became the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the UBA Group, having gathered in his pocket a wealth of experience in core banking, corporate marketing, strategic business advisory services and management. resources for more than 2 decades. The stint recently changed hands, as Alawuba Oliver was announced as Uzoka’s successor.

Memberships, scholarships and awards

In 2019, Kennedy Uzoka won ‘BusinessDay’s Bank CEO of the Year’, an award very much tied to the bank’s impressive financial performance, shareholder investment appreciation and the introduction of the UBA’s chatbot, LEO – first of its kind in any financial institution in Africa.

Kennedy Uzoka was a member of the board of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Limited; Member of the Chartered Institute of Credit Administration (ICA); Director of the Financial Institutions Training Center (FiTC); Registered Professional of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria; Member of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Uzoka is a member of the MasterCard Middle East and Africa (MEA) Advisory Council. He also served on the Nigerian Economic Summit Group as a director.

Net value

Although it’s not easy to put a number on his net worth, Kennedy Uzoka is certainly retiring comfortably. According to the market analyst, Uzoka owns millions of units of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) shares. It’s quite an asset that many would give an arm and a leg for.

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