UBA surpasses Lafarge, Guinness, others with highest female board membership

Article Summary

  • The number of females on the board of United Bank for Africa has surpassed 50%.  
  •  There has been a steady increase in the proportion of female board members in Nigerian companies over the past five years, from 18% in 2018 to 25% in 2022.
  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that Nigeria climbed from 139th to 123rd out of 146 countries in its global gender gap index.
  • Okomu Oil saw an impressive transformation, going from no female representation in 2020 to 15% representation by the end of 2022. 

United Bank for Africa (UBA) has achieved a significant milestone by surpassing prominent Nigerian companies like Lafarge, Guinness, BUA, Stanbic IBTC, and Nigerian Breweries to lead in female board membership.

With eight out of its 15 board members being women, UBA has become the first major Nigerian firm to exceed the 50% mark, boasting a remarkable 53% female board membership in 2022. 

The other companies that make up the top five in terms of female representation on their boards in 2022 are Lafarge Africa Plc (45%), Guinness Nigeria Plc (45%), Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc (42%), and Nigerian Breweries Plc (42%).

On the other end of the spectrum, FBN Holdings Plc (9%), BUA Cement Plc (13%), Geregu Power Plc (11%), Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (14%), and Okomu Oil Company Plc (15%) recorded the lowest proportions of female board members. 

This achievement reflects the overall positive trend observed in gender diversity among Nigeria’s most valuable companies.

A report by Agusto Consulting, a subsidiary of Agusto & Co, a pan-African credit rating agency, revealed that the share of women on boards reached an all-time high in 2022. Agusto analyzed the boards of the 25 most valuable companies in Nigeria based on their market capitalization at the end of 2022. 

The report indicates a steady increase in the proportion of female board members over the past five years, rising from 18% in 2018 to 25% in 2022. However, in comparison to other countries, Nigeria still has room for improvement, as South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States have higher percentages of female board members, with 36%, 41%, and 35%, respectively. 

Need for improvement 

Agusto Consulting acknowledges the progress made in Nigeria but emphasizes the need for further improvement. It highlights that the 25% threshold in Nigeria was largely achieved through the efforts of progressive companies committed to promoting diversity.

The report also highlights positive changes in the representation of women on boards between 2020 and 2022, with ten companies increasing female board membership. Notably, Okomu Oil saw an impressive transformation, going from no female representation in 2020 to 15% representation by the end of 2022.

Flour Mills and Zenith Bank also made significant strides, increasing their representation from 7% and 8%, respectively, in 2020 to 20% each by 2022. 

In January 2020, the 2018 Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG) came into effect, emphasising gender diversity in corporate leadership. The code encourages companies’ boards of directors to take actions to promote gender, age, and cultural diversity and implement policies to govern these processes.

However, the NCCG does not specify the exact proportion of female representation required on the board. 

Nigeria’s improvement globally recognized 

Nigeria’s efforts in improving gender equality have been recognized on a global scale. The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that Nigeria climbed from 139th to 123rd out of 146 countries in its global gender gap index.

The country showed positive changes in the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, moving from the 78th position to the 50th position. Overall, Nigeria ascended 16 ranks in the index, highlighting progress in economic and educational areas. 

Below is the list of Nigeria’s top five female board representative firms: 

1. UBA (United Bank for Africa): Eight of its 15 board members are women. They are-

  • Owanari Duke: Former first lady of Cross River state and managing partner at Duke and Bobmanuel, a law firm based in Lagos;  
  • Aisha Baba: Founding and managing partner at Ebo Hassan Baba & Co, Abuja;  
  • Caroline Anyanwu: Founder/principal consultant at Fineline Business Advisory Limited; 
  • Erelu Adebayo: Founder of Erelu Adebayo Foundation and Erelu Adebayo Children’s Home 
  • Angela Aneke: CEO of Angela Aneke & Co;  
  • Abiola Bawuah: First-ever female CEO of UBA Africa;  
  • Sola Yomi-Ajayi: CEO of UBA America; and  
  • Emem Usoro: UBA’s executive director, Nigerian North Bank. 

2. Lafarge Africa: Half of its 12 board members are women. They are-

  • Adewale Oyinkan: Retired executive director and chief financial officer of Union Bank;  
  • Elenda Giwa-Amu: CEO of Chandrea Lifestyle Limited;  
  • Adenike Ogunlesi: Founder and creative director at Ruff ‘n’ Tumble; 
  • Karine Mercie: Group head of tax at LafargeHolcim; 
  • Sonal Shrivastava: Chief financial officer at Vedanta Resources Limited; and 
  • Adewunmi Alode: Lafarge Africa’s general counsel and company secretary. 

3. Guinness Nigeria: Five out of its 12 board members are women. They are-

  • Omobola Johnson: First female board chair of Guinness Nigeria. 
  • Ngozi Edozien: Founder and managing director at Invivo Partners Limited and Physio Centers of Africa Limited; 
  • Gráinne Wafer: Diageo’s global director for Beer, Baileys, and Smirnoff; 
  • Yemisi Ayeni: Chairperson of NASCON Allied Industries Plc; 
  • Tariye Gbadegesin: CEO of ARM-Harith Infrastructure Investment Limited; 

4. Stanbic IBTC Holdings: Five out of its 14 board members are women. They include-

  • Sola David-Borha: Former chief executive of Standard Bank, Africa Regions; 
  • Bunmi Dayo-Olagunju: Executive director of operations for Stanbic IBTC Bank; 
  • Miannaya Essien: Senior Advocate of Nigeria and managing partner of Principles Law Partnership; and 
  • Rabi Isma: Previously director of HR Business Partnering & Health and Safety at Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (operators of 9Mobile); and  
  • Funeka Montjane is the chief executive, of Consumer and High Net Worth Clients for Standard Bank Group. 

5.Nigerian Breweries: 12 members, five are women. They are-

  • -Adeyinka Aroyewun is the managing consultant at Atticus Allen Consulting; 
  • -Ndidi Nwuneli is the managing partner at Sahel Consulting Agriculture & Nutrition Limited; 
  • -Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru is the managing partner at Compliance Professionals Plc; 
  • -Yeliz Yedikardesler is the regional chief financial officer at Heineken Africa, Middle East & Eastern Europe; and 
  • -Juliet Anammah is the chairwoman, of Jumia Nigeria and head of Institutional Affairs across Africa. 

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