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UBA Rightsizing Set To Boost Productivity, Increase Value Delivery

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For Nigeria’s biggest employer of labour in the banking industry, finding the right size to optimise value delivery to its customers, shareholders and other stakeholders means a motivated and productive workforce is essential in the very competitive banking industry.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) recently announced that it embarked on a careful re-jigging of its workforce in the last quarter of 2019 which led to the promotion of more than a fourth of its workforce, easing of mobility through its corporate ranks, and upward review of salaries.

The bank also recruited additional staff and let go of some of its underperforming employees in a carefully planned restructuring aimed at making its workforce one of the most competitive within the industry, it said.

UBA has the largest workforce among Nigerian banks but also generates the lowest profit per employee and gross earnings per employee among the big banks, underscoring low productivity at the expense of its shareholders.

The pan-African lender, which currently boasts of workforce strength near 12,909, in 2018 generated a gross earning per head of N38.27m.

The earnings per head was significantly lower than the performance of its big peers and a FUGAZ (First Bank, UBA, GTB, Access and Zenith) average of N77.98m, according to data compiled by BusinessDay.

The bank also had a profit per employee of N6m which was lower than that generated by employees of its peers. FUGAZ average was N18.96m in the period.

However, its management is taking necessary measures that would benefit both the business and its workforce in entirety by crashing grade levels from 16 to 12 and promoting 3,292 employees across various cadres with up to 170 percent salary increment.

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The bank also effected an upward review of salaries of 1,735 additional junior staff, employed over 2,800 operations staff and 1,336 additional non-operations staff.

Like is normal practice anywhere in the world, few employees that had underperformed after appraisal, some of who were close to retirement, were asked to resign. UBA said some of the affected staff would collect up to eight months’ salary plus PenCom contributions.

“As a leading financial institution, we do not take issues relating to our staff lightly,” said Kennedy Uzoka, UBA’s group managing director/chief executive officer. “UBA recruits highly talented staff who perform at the best standards and deserve to be remunerated accordingly.”

Uzoka said UBA is ever attentive to its employees as they turn the wheels which make the organisation successful for its customers and shareholders.

He said the steps would ensure that UBA remains at the top tier as it relates to the talent pool and make it easier and faster for the bank’s employees to progress along with their careers.

“With this new grade structure, it will be possible for a new graduate employed at UBA to rapidly chart their own careers and become GMD by the age of 36,” he said.

Underlining its broader commitment to investing in the highest quality human capital, the bank on Monday announced that Oliver Alawuba has been appointed as CEO of UBA Africa, overseeing the bank’s 20 African country operations, ex-Nigeria.

He succeeds Victor Osadolor, who retires from the Group Board after nine years of service working at UBA. UBA Africa serves over 19 million customers across the African continent, providing retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting-edge products including the first-ever banking chatbot in Africa, LEO.

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The Board further appointed Senegalese national, Abdoul-Aziz Dia, as executive director for Treasury and International Banking, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Dia becomes the first non-Nigerian group executive director of the bank, bringing a wealth of multi-geographical experience to the Group. He will be responsible for UBA’s global network of operations in New York, London and Paris, together with Group Treasury, where UBA offers a sophisticated suite of products to multinationals, international institutions and African clients.

Chukwuma Nweke, currently executive director operations, was confirmed by the Board as the group executive director, Retail and Payments, demonstrating the Group’s commitment to its retail offering. Nweke has close to three decades of banking experience spanning banking operations, finance, technology, audit, and strategy.

The Board also announced the appointment of Chiugo Ndubisi as group executive director and the group chief operating officer, subject to CBN’s approval.

Chiugo is a professional with almost three decades of banking experience that includes the role of chief finance officer and executive director on the board of a financial institution. His in-depth understanding of banking and finance industry dynamics will bring a lot of value to the Group Board of UBA.

“These appointments emphasise the Group’s commitment to our pan-African and global network, our huge retail client base and our operational infrastructure,” said Tony O. Elumelu, Group chairman.

“We are focused on improving our efficiency and further strengthening our pan-African mission, using the extraordinary pool of talent and experience available in the Group.”

Elumelu thanked both the outgoing deputy managing director/CEO, UBA Africa, Victor Osadolor, and the former regional CEO for UBA in East and Southern Africa, Emeke Iweriebor, who just retired from the board, for their contributions to the bank.

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UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. The bank also has a presence in the global financial centres of London, New York and Paris.

UBA provides banking services to more than 17 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

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