THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the appointment of Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi as the non-executive director of First Bank Holdings Plc and chairman of the company to replace Mr Remi Balalola.

CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, disclosed late on Friday that the bank had been duly notified of the resignation of Mr Babalola as the chairman of the company against the backdrop of contest by some significant shareholders for the control of First Bank Holding Plc.

While congratulating Alhaji Abdullahi on his appointment, the CBN described Babalola’s resignation as the chairman of the company as regrettable, especially given the fact that CBN’s regulatory interventions had made positive impact and increased attractiveness of the company to both local and foreign investors.

Notwithstanding the recent development, Nwanisobi said the CBN acknowledged the achievements recorded by the company on Mr Babalola’s watch and thanked him for his service, even as the CBN wished him well in his future endeavours.

According to Nwanisobi, the regulatory measures taken by the CBN were yielding the expected results in terms of overhaul of corporate governance practices, restoration of confidence in the bank’s brand, increased transparency and due process in transactions as well as improved financial performance.

In line with its statutory mandate, the CBN spokesman said the CBN remained committed to ensuring transparent governance practices at the bank and the continued independence of the chairman and other persons holding key governance positions.

It will be recalled that given the systemic importance of First Bank owing to its historical significance, balance sheet size, large customer base and high level of interconnectedness with other financial service providers, the CBN, in April 2021, took decisive regulatory action to address corporate governance infractions at the bank.

This led to the removal of the board of First Bank Ltd and FBN Holdco Plc and appointment of a new board.

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