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Board of Directors

Meet the members of the Sterling Bank board.


Asue Ighodalo

Mr. Asue Ighodalo was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Sterling Bank in May 2014 and subsequently as Chairman in July 2014.

A product of the prestigious King’s College, Lagos, Asue obtained a Bachelor’s of Science Degree (B.Sc) in Economics from the University of Ibadan in 1981; Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1984 from the London School of Economics and Political Science and was called to the Nigerian bar in 1985. He is a Partner at the law firm Banwo & Ighodalo, a leading corporate and commercial law practice in Nigeria, which he founded in partnership in 1991. His core practice areas are corporate finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, banking and securities, foreign investments and divestments, energy and natural resources, privatization and project finance. A member of several professional associations, Asue sits on the Board of several public and private companies.

Managing Director/CEO

Abubakar Suleiman

Mr. Abubakar Suleiman currently serves as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank Plc – a role he assumed on 1st April, 2018.

Born on 19th August, 1973, he has two decades of relevant experience spanning tax advisory, business audit and financial services. He holds a B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Abuja and an M.Sc. in Major Programmes Management from the University of Oxford. He is also an alumnus of Arthur Andersen (KPMG Nigeria), Wharton School and INSEAD Business School in addition to executive education from Harvard and Said Business School.

Mr. Abubakar Suleiman started his banking career as a Management Associate in MBC International Bank (now First Bank Plc) in 1998. In 2000, he moved to Citibank Nigeria where he worked in roles covering Treasury and Asset & Liability Management. He served as Treasurer in Sterling Bank and was the Integration Director for the merger with Equitorial Trust Bank. He attained the role of Executive Director, Finance and Strategy with responsibility for Finance & Performance Management, Strategy & Communications and Human Resource Management. In addition to these responsibilities, Mr. Suleiman briefly assumed the additional role of the Executive Director in charge of the Commercial & Institutional Banking Directorate, before his appointment as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Executive Director

Grama Narasimhan

Mr. Grama Narasimhan currently serves as the Executive Director, Retail and Consumer Banking at Sterling Bank; a role he has held since October 2014.

He obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree (First Class) from Bangalore University, Karnataka, India in 1982. His 30-year-old career which began as an Officer with State Bank of India (SBI) in 1987 has seen him hold various positions at senior levels in Credit/Advances, International Banking and Branch Operations.

He is a Certified Associate of the prestigious India Institute of Bankers.

Executive Director

Yemi Odubiyi

With a knack for connecting the dots and uncovering trends in the financial markets, Yemi finds unique opportunities for the bank’s corporate clients to invest and grow their assets while inspiring them to reach for new horizons.

Yemi has over two decades of banking experience, blending expertise in trade and structured finance into policies for defining and implementing the overall strategic goals of the bank.

Prior to his appointment as ED, Corporate & Investment banking, Yemi was responsible for the design and oversight of the bank’s systems, processes, workflows & procedures as the Chief Operating Officer, a role he worked in for six years.

Yemi is an honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (HCIB) and an alumnus of the prestigious University of Lagos

He is a Certified Associate of the prestigious India Institute of Bankers.

Executive Director

Emmanuel Emefienim

Emmanuel Emefienim commenced his banking career with Oceanic Bank Plc (now Ecobank Nigeria) in 1992, where he rose to the position of Head, Credit & Marketing before joining United Bank for Africa Plc as Manager, Commercial Banking. 

Mr. Emefienim also worked in Savannah Bank Plc and FSB International Bank Plc (now Fidelity Bank Plc) over a period of six years before joining Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) in 2006.

In ETB, he excelled and rose to the position of Zonal Business Director. Following the acquisition of Equitorial Trust Bank and its consolidation into Sterling Bank in 2011, he assumed the position of Regional Business Executive covering the South-South 2 Region, a role in which he excelled, leading to the expansion of his responsibilities to cover the entire South-South & Mid-west Regions in 2017.

Emmanuel Emefienim is currently the Executive Director, Institutional Banking, Sterling Bank Plc. He has over 25 years of experience in, treasury, sales, credit and institutional banking.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Benin (UNIBEN), two Masters’ degrees in banking and finance, as well as business administration from the same university. Emmanuel Emefienim is also an Alumnus of both the Harvard Business School and Wharton School, Pennsylvania.

Non-Executive Director

Olaitan Kajero

Mr. Olaitan Kajero joined the Board of Directors of Sterling Bank in August 2014. He holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Lagos and an MBA Finance from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye in Ogun State. 

He is currently the Managing Director of STB Building Society Limited – a position he has held since 2006.

He started his career as Finance and Administrative Manager at Communication Associates of Nigeria Limited in 1997. He went on to serve as General Manager and Group Chief Operating Officer in Aircom Nigeria Limited between 2001 and 2006, where he was responsible for the general business development and managing the day to day activities of the Company. Mr. Kajero is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Non-Executive Director

Tairat Tijani

Mrs. Tijani graduated from the Lancaster University with Honours in Accounting, Finance & Economics. She also graduated with a Distinction in MBA, International Business from the University of Birmingham.

She is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators of Nigeria.

Mrs. Tijani has garnered significant experience as an operator in the Capital Market, participating in several landmark transactions which have contributed immensely towards the development of the Nigerian Capital Market. She was formerly the Head, Capital Markets Division of FBN Capital (a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc- formerly First Bank of Nigeria Plc) where she had oversight responsibility for deal origination and transaction execution.

She was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Sterling Bank in November, 2014.

Non-Executive Director

Michael Jituboh

Mr. Michael Jituboh is currently the Executive Director, Special Projects of Globacom Limited. He worked for 17 years in the African Development Bank in Ivory Coast where he successfully held the positions of Loan Officer, Senior Executive in charge of International Organizations, Special Assistant to the President and Director, International Co-operation Department.

He has been on missions to every African country and is also widely travelled across the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the American continent. 

He has an extensive background experience in Project Lending and Management. He previously served as Non-Executive Director on the boards of the erstwhile Devcom and Equitorial Trust Banks. Mr. Jituboh holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Degree in Applied

Mathematics from the Federal City College (now University of Washington DC), USA and a Master of Arts (MA) Degree in Economic Studies from Stanford University, California, USA. He is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Program for Management Development (PMD). He was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Sterling Bank in December, 2015.

Non-Executive Director

Folashade Kilaso

Mrs. Folasade Kilaso joined the Board of Sterling Bank Plc as a Non-Executive Director in June 2018.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Kent and an LLM from the prestigious University of Cambridge specializing in International Corporate law and Finance. 

Mrs. Kilaso was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1988. She trained with the leading international law firm Clifford Chance in the United Kingdom and is a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. She is presently the Principal Partner at Berkeley Legal where she specializes in Banking & Corporate Finance, Capital Markets, Energy, Real Estate, Insurance, Immigration and Risk Management.

Prior to setting up Berkeley Legal in 2015, she was Executive Director at Standard Chartered Bank, Nigeria. Mrs. Kilaso had a multifunctional career at Standard Chartered during her 11 years with the Bank. She has served on the Board of the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), and on the committees of various institutions such as the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS), Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria (CIBN) and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) – Sub Committee for Women Economic Empowerment. She is currently serving on the board of other companies.

Non-Executive Director

Sujit Varma

Mr. Sujit Varma was appointed a member of the Board of Directors of Sterling Bank in February, 2017.

He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Ranchi University, India.

His banking career with State Bank of India started in 1987 and he has held several roles across credit and operations. Over the course of his senior management career, he has managed roles in New York and India as Chief Executive Officer. He is currently the Chief General Manager, International Banking at the State Bank of India. He holds professional qualifications from Indian Institute of Bankers.

Independent Director

Omolara Akanji

Dr. (Mrs.) Omolara Akanji was appointed an Independent Director of Sterling Bank in February 2014.

She holds a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan,

She also holds an M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Reading, a Diploma in Statistics from the University of Kent, Mathematical Institute, and a Ph.D. Finance from the European-American University, Commonwealth of Dominica. Her early career started with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 1978 as an Assistant Economist. She rose through the ranks and retired in December 2007 as Director, Trade and Exchange Department. She also served as a Consultant to the CBN between 2008 and 2011. She is an alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) of Monetary Policy and Management.

Independent Director

Micheal Ajukwu

Mr. Michael Ajukwu was appointed an Independent Director on the Board of Sterling Bank Plc in June 2018.

He holds a B.Sc. in Finance from the University of Lagos and an MBA in Accounting & Finance from New York University

Mr. Ajukwu is currently a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of Intafact Beverages Ltd (Nigerian subsidiary of South African Breweries), Mobax Nigeria Ltd (a South African company) and Novotel – a member of ACCOR (a French hotel group).

He worked for 21 years in the banking industry retiring in 2002 as an executive board member of United Bank for Africa. He is also an Independent Director on the Board of Tiger Brands SA.