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/Chief Executive Officer

Abubakar Suleiman

Abubakar, fondly called Abu, is the Chief Executive Officer at Sterling Bank Plc and has carved a niche for himself in the fiercely competitive financial services landscape by providing innovative responses and solutions to complex problems.

He started his career at MBC International Bank (now consolidated into First Bank Plc) before joining Citibank Nigeria two years later. Abu joined the turnaround team of Trust Bank of Africa Limited, which later consolidated into Sterling Bank Plc.

At Sterling Bank, he served in senior leadership roles that include Interim CEO of Equitorial Trust Bank Limited (ETB) and Integration Director (responsible for the integration of ETB into Sterling Bank), Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director before his appointment as Chief Executive Officer in April 2018.

Abu 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 Saïd Business Schools.

Executive Director, Corporate & Investment Banking

Yemi Odubiyi

Yemi Odubiyi is The Executive Director, Corporate and Investment Banking of Sterling Bank Plc, a role he has held since June 2018. Mr Odubiyi leads the Corporate and Investment Banking teams and also oversees the bank’s digital assets. 

Yemi was born on 2nd September, 1972; studied at the University of Lagos and holds a first degree in Estate Management (1994) as well as a Masters in International Law degree (1998) from the same institution.

He started his banking career with the Nigeria unit of Citibank (at the time known as Nigeria International Bank) in 1995 as an Operations & Technology Generalist serving across all its Operations and Technology functions and was thereafter enrolled in its Management Associate program undertaking stints across all key units of the Bank. He left Citi to join the turnaround team of the then Trust Bank of Africa in 2003 as Head of Operations & Technology.

Upon the consolidation of Trust Bank into Sterling Bank Plc, Yemi served as pioneer Group Head, Trade Services. In 2008, he was mandated to build the Structured Finance Group and also assumed oversight for corporate strategy serving as Chief Strategy Officer. He moved into the Chief Operating Officer (COO) role in March 2012 and later joined the Board as Executive Director in 2014.

Over the course of his career, Yemi has undertaken senior management/executive education programs in Risk Management, Finance, and General Management at leading international educational institutions including the London and Harvard Business Schools.

Executive Director, Institutional Banking

Emmanuel Emefienim

Mr Emmanuel Efe Emefienim joined the Board of Sterling Bank Plc. as Executive Director in February 2018. He holds a B.Sc  (Hons) degree in Microbiology (1989), M.Sc Banking &  Finance (1995) and  MBA ( 1998) from University of Benin, Nigeria.

Mr Emefienim has over 27 years experience in the Banking Industry having worked in various middle and Senior Management levels within Operations, Treasury and Marketing functions since 1992.  He commenced his Banking career with Oceanic Bank ( now Ecobank Plc), Head, Credit & Marketing, 1992-1997; United Bank for Africa Plc, Manager, Commercial Banking, 1997 -2000 and then had a six – year stint at Savannah Bank Plc and FSB International Bank Plc ( now Fidelity Bank Plc) before  joining  Equitorial Trust Bank (ETB) in 2006.  In ETB, he was an excellent performer managing the entire South South region; a position he retained post ETB/Sterling Bank merger in 2011.

Emmanuel has contributed immensely to the growth and success of Sterling Bank; Apart  from being awarded Best performing Group Head ( Regional Businesses) at various times, He remains the only Regional Head in the history of Sterling Bank  to run the most profitable Regional Business bank-wide for 7 consecutive years ( 2011-2017).  He was promoted to the position of General Manager in 2016 with additional responsibilities to oversee the bank’s Commercial & Institutional Banking franchise  in South South/South East  and Midwest Regions; a position he held until his appointment to the Board of Sterling Bank Plc in 2018.

An alumni of the Harvard Business School, INSEAD and Wharton School Pennsylvania, Mr Emefienim is a performer of the highest quality. Over the years, he has consistently proven to be a worthy individual with outstanding leadership qualities. He has displayed an incredible depth of knowledge, skill and excellence. He has consistently delivered value, put forward his best and taken ownership as and when necessary. He currently oversees the Institutional Banking Directorate of Sterling Bank Plc.

Executive Director, Commercial Banking

Tunde Adeola

He was previously the Divisional Head, Commercial Banking and a seasoned banking professional with over 29 years experience, in the Financial Services Industry, more than 13 of which are dedicated to service in Sterling.

He started his career with Liberty Merchant Bank Limited where he worked from 1990-1995, before joining Kakawa Discount House as a pioneer staff from 1995-2002.

He moved to Trust Bank in 2002 and was responsible for the bank’s funding across all market segments. In this capacity, Tunde supervised the Public Sector, Small Businesses, Niche Markets,  Personal Finance and Non-Bank financial institutions.  In recognition of his contributions, he was promoted to an Assistant General Manager in 2004 and in 2007, he became a Deputy General Manager. 

Following the consolidation exercise and the emergence of Sterling Bank in 2006, he was appointed Head, Telecoms and Corporate Banking Group and was later assigned to head the business of 33 branches in Lagos as the Regional Business Executive. He was promoted to General Manager grade in May 2013 and was appointed Business Executive, Commercial & Institutional Banking, Ikeja & Beyond in March 2015.

He holds a B.A. English (1988) from the Lagos State University and an LL.B Law (1999) from the University of Lagos. He is an Honorary Member, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (HCIB) and has attended several Executive Programmes from top management universities such as the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Executive Director, Operations/ Chief Operating Officer

Raheem Owodeyi

He was previously the Chief Operating Officer and a skilled expert with over 28 years experience in the Financial Services Industry and with over 4 years committed to service in Sterling.

He began his career as a Resident Internal Auditor at Citibank Nigeria where he worked from 1991-1999. While in Citibank, he worked in roles covering Internal Audit, Internal Controls, Business Process Improvement and Cash Management Operations. His experience also includes 6 years with Triumph Bank Plc, Nigeria as Head, Operations & Technology and Head, Compliance & Controls.

He moved to BDO Stoy Hayward, LLP in the United Kingdom as a Senior Internal Auditor where he conducted clients’ audits in areas covering Compliance and Corporate Governance, Treasury & Cash Management. He joined Access Bank Plc in 2008 as a Deputy General Manager and Head, Compliance and Internal Controls (Subsidiaries) where he was responsible for implementing the Bank’s Compliance & Internal Controls framework across subsidiaries in 8 African countries and the UK and 3 non-banking subsidiaries in Nigeria. 

He also worked at Aso Savings & Loans Plc as Chief Inspector/Head Internal Audit & Controls from 2011-2014. He joined Sterling Bank as the Chief Compliance Officer in 2015.

He obtained a B.Sc. Economics (1990) from OAU and has attended Executive Management Courses from London Business School, Harvard Business School and University of Pennsylvania. He is a Member, Institute of Internal Auditors, IIA; Honorary Member, Chartered Institute of Bankers (HCIB) and Member of Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.

Non-Executive Director

Ankala Prasad

Mr. Prasad is presently the Country Head and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, Executive Committee of State Bank of India’s South African Operations. He joined the State Bank of India in 1995 as a Probationary Officer and has served in various capacities.

He has extensive banking experience and is an expert in project finance, with responsibility for large corporates, foreign exchange business including trade transactions. He is well versed in regulatory compliance and reporting, identifying risk and its mitigants.

Mr. Prasad obtained his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from Nagarjuna University, India. He also obtained an MBA (Financial Management) from the University of Mumbai, India.

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

Paritosh Tripathi

Mr. Tripathi is presently the General Manager Operations, International Banking Group of the State Bank of India (SBI). He joined the State Bank of India in 1990 as a Probationary Officer and has over the years served in various capacities.

He has over 30 years banking experience and is an expert in the implementation of IT related policies and IT Infrastructure. He oversees the Operations & Information System Functions. He is responsible for HR and Overseas Expansion Planning and Strategy and also has oversight functions on performance monitoring, budgeting, strategy, advertisement and marketing at SBI.

Mr. Tripathi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Lucknow. He is a certified Associate of the 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

Michael 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.