By Blaise Udunze
IFIE Sekibo, the Managing Director/CEO of Heritage Bank, is a man nicknamed turn-around maestro in the business world.To demonstrate this , he has vowed to stop at nothing in ensuring that Heritage Bank is listed on the stock market.
He explained that, with innovative services, Heritage Bank would be transformed to uplift the vision of its customers to the highest level.
He stated: “The plans for Heritage Bank are unfolding. It is a gradual process. With the acquisition of Enterprise Bank Limited, Heritage Bank is now a bigger and better bank. One of our major strategies is to work with our partners to grow their business and take them to the stock market. To achieve this as a service organisation in the business of banking, we must be in the stock market ourselves. That is our direction.”
Sekibo’s uncommon achievements can be traced to how he successfully steered indigenous oil company, MoniPulo Ltd, to profitability – paying off all debts and even going as far as buying out its foreign technical partners. In just six months, he took on Global Assurance and transformed it into International Energy Insurance.
In this interview with Daily Sun, Sekibo spoke on innovative services of the bank, how to build entrepreneurs, leaders as well as the development of the agricultural sector.
I am known by many nicknames, most recently, as the “turn-around maestro”. This makes me smile because I simply consider myself to be an entrepreneur. I am an alumnus of the University of Science & Technology, Port Harcourt, and the Harvard Business School. I also hold an Owner President Management certificate from HBS, Boston. I am a member of several institutes in Nigeria like Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and Credit Administration to mention few. I started my professional career in the Rivers State Audit Department and I worked in KPMG, Elf Nigeria, Investment Banking and Trust co. and Rim Merchant Bank. In 2003 I became the Group Managing Director of International Energy Insurance and today I am the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank.
You are a helper of destiny, what experience in your past can be linked to the reason for your ideology?
As a businessman, I believe in people. People are the success of any business. In getting to where I am today, I didn’t do it alone, I worked with different tenacious teams to achieve goals. While I am not certain on what you mean by helper of destiny, I believe in rewarding excellence. I understand success is not me alone doing well, it is also measured by how well the people surrounding you are doing, it is measured by how the people you work with are doing, and it is measured on how well the people you work for are doing. My success is my people’s success and my people’s success is my success that’s my ideology.
Plans to take Heritage Bank to enviable height?
The plans for Heritage Bank are unfolding. It is a gradual process. With the acquisition of Enterprise Bank Limited, Heritage Bank is now a bigger and better bank. One of our major strategies is to work with our partners to grow their business and take them to the stock market. To achieve this as a service organization in the business of banking, we must be in the stock market ourselves. That is our direction.
Tools of success
My tools for success are people and good processes. But, most importantly, people because people drive the processes. I believe that success is largely hinged on people who have been able to key into my vision, making it a common goal; people who have invested their time, efforts, ideas and energy- armed with good system, processes and with lasting support from partnerships built over time.
Role of leadership entrepreneurship
As a leader, I have met and worked with people with different values, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, cultural values, work habits, goals, ambitions and dreams. Because of this incredible diversity of human resources, it is very necessary, though sometimes difficult, for a diplomatic leader like myself to form these people into high-performing teams. Nobody wins by being autocratic, hence, diplomacy is key. That way, you are set to tackle issues that arise from being an entrepreneur.
How bank is helping clients’ vision
Heritage Bank’s philosophy is to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations. We are in the business to provide service per excellence and to grow with our customers. We are here to help our customers create wealth for themselves, assist our partners preserve their wealth and guide them in transferring it to the next generation. We achieve this with tailor- made affordable products which offer zero COT charges and high interest yields, among others for our partners.
What makes Heritage different from other banks
Innovative service! To us, innovation isn’t only about creating something new; it is also about taking something that exists and transforming it into something bigger and better. As a new entrant to the banking sector, our advantage is that we are starting from where our competition has stopped while being able to avoid all the mistakes they made along the way. Having imbibed a culture of continuous innovation, I’m confident of Heritage Bank’s ability to adapt to envisaged customer and sector changes.
Advice to govt on agric devt
The Nigerian government has done a lot for the agricultural sector. The government has carried our various transformation agenda like NIRSAL- a new innovative mechanism targeted at de-risking lending to the agricultural sector and designed to provide the singular transformational and one bullet solution to break the seeming jinx in Nigeria’s agricultural lending and development, Growth Enhancement Support Scheme (GESS) which represents a policy and pragmatic shift within the existing fertilizer market stabilization programme and it puts the resource-constrained farmer at its centre through the provision of series of incentives to encourage the critical actors in the fertilizer value chain to work together to improve productivity, household food security and income of the farmer. There is also the staple crops processing zones, establishment of commodity marketing corporations around each of the agricultural commodities and let’s not forget the CBNs single digit loans which also caters for SMEs in the agricultural sector. I believe all the government needs to do more is simply communicate.
In our nation today, there is a need for a system that can allow the evolution of new breed of leaders, what deliberate action can you proffer for actualizing this?
The nature of every ecosystem is change. Everything that works within an ecosystem must evolve and this include rules, best practices, business models, mindset and the leaders themselves who drive the ecosystem. The rapid fire changing world of the 21st century presents new challenges – and new opportunities – for leadership. The ideas, concepts, and attitudes that once drove the nation to success need to be updated. To be an authentic, inspiring leader, the young people of today must dramatically increase their chances of success as they meet modern society’s issues by cultivating new insights and perspectives.
Source : SunOnline