Nigerian Stock Exchange appears to be searching for a Chief Executive Officer according to a job advert seen by Nairametrics. Oscar Onyema, the current Chief Executive, whose two terms 5-year each leadership of the exchange would end by March 31, 2021, is expected to take a bow to pave way for the Exchange’s demutualisation.
Onyema, one of the Exchange’s longest-serving CEOs, had his renewal of the contract of employment approved by the Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede led National Council, NSE in 2016. Oscar Onyema was also recently confirmed as the CEO of NEXG, the holding company for the demutualised exchange.
The job advert called for the application for the position of CEO of “The Nigeria Exchange Limited” the subsidiary that will operate the stock market.
The vacancy, which announced by Stanton Chase, a leadership advisory firm, read,
“The CEO is an individual with proven leadership skills, sound technical knowledge and experience, as well as a robust track record of successes and achievements.
“The job holder will be responsible for the general management of the company’s operations and expected to demonstrate excellent administrative, strategic, operational and business management skills.
“The desired candidate will be expected to successfully drive the achievement of the Exchange’s financial and non-financial targets; champion the development and refinement of the Exchange’s strategies towards deepening market penetration and achieving sustainable growth and profitability. The desired candidate would also oversee the execution of the Exchange’s go-to-market and operating model priorities among others.”
This is the prescribed job profile of the candidate;
The CEO is an individual with proven leadership skills, sound technical knowledge and experience, as well as a robust track record of successes and achievements. The job holder will be responsible for the general management of the company’s operations and expected to demonstrate excellent administrative, strategic, operational and business management skills.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the successful candidate will have overall P&L responsibility for the Nigerian Exchange Ltd, oversee the implementation of strategic value-adding projects as well as hold responsibility for the day-to-day management of its operations. The CEO will sit on the Group Executive Committee (GEC) chaired by the Group CEO.
Nairametrics understands that this is a formal process of the demutualisation of The Exchange and that Oscar will be eligible to apply for the position. He is by all indications likely to return as the MD/CEO of the soon to be demutualised Stock Exchange. Some sources also suggest this is a fresh vacancy as he is already the GCEO while they get someone else to oversee the operations of The Exchange. During its demutualisation ceremony back in March, Oscar Onyema was appointed CEO of the group.
At the Court Ordered Meeting, members voted and assented to the re-registration of the Exchange as Nigerian Exchange Group Plc with the transfer of its securities exchange licence and other assets required to carry out the securities function to the Nigerian Exchange Limited. It is thus likely that this is a search for a new CEO.
Pre-Condition for demutualisation
Nairametrics understands this development is in line with the pre-condition steps the Exchange is expected to take before the entire demutualization process is completed.
According to the Step 1 of the Pre-Condition for Demutualisation (Pre-Scheme), after NSE has obtained Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) ‘’No Objection’’ it is expected to detail the following (as prescribed):
“The names and profiles of members of the Demutualisation Advisory Committee (“DAC”), further indicating that a third (1/3) of the DAC was independent; the valuation report on The NSE; the draft Memorandum and Articles of Association of the demutualised NSE; the proposed rules of the demutualised NSE.
“The proposed allotment and the basis of the proposed allotment of the shares to Members, the list of the directors proposed as the Board of the demutualised NSE, the proposed plan for the independent management of the commercial and regulatory functions of the demutualised NSE and the timelines for the implementation of structures to ensure the functional treatment of the commercial and regulatory functions.
Onyema’s track record
Onyema’s tenure as CEO of the NSE is marked by outstanding achievements, which made the Council approve his re-appointment expressly when it declared that it is confident that he could continue The Exchange’s trajectory of transformation, innovation and marketplace recognition by implementing its business strategies which he has been instrumental in developing.
“The leadership qualities that he has demonstrated in his first term as CEO, in the face of such intense and challenging operating environment, have been exemplary. The Council believes that his vision and passion will ensure the Exchange remains a force to be reckoned with in Africa and beyond”.
On assumption of the role of CEO in April 2011, Onyema developed the strategic plan to transform the Exchange into a globally competitive brand by stabilizing and professionalizing the Exchange. Also, the execution of the Exchange’s transformation strategy, which resulted in over 365% increase in the surplus, and a 40% increase in NSE Group balance sheet size for the period.
He has transitioned this strategy into a five-year growth plan, 2015 to 2019 which will see the Exchange increase the number of new listings across five (5) asset classes; increase order flow in the five (5) asset classes, and operate a fair and orderly market based on just and equitable principles.
Critics not fazed
Despite his achievements from a capital market operator perspective, some of his fiercest critics remain unhappy about his achievement as CEO of the NSE. According to a critic who prefers to remain anonymous as “he has not been authorized to comment on the manner, Oscar’s reign has failed to usher in a protracted period of growth for the capital market since he came in. Investors have probably lost more on a net basis between 2011 and 2020″ admonishing Oscar for the spate of losses incurred by investors in the last 5 years.
Last April made it exactly 9 years since Oscar was appointed as CEO of The Exchange. Between April 2011 and April 2020, the stock market has lost 8% going from an All Share Index of 25,041.7 to 23,021. Despite also recording new listings, some critics believe the market is still shallow with about 5 stocks representing over 60% of market capitalisation.
Unfortunately for Oscar, some of the market sell-offs have nothing to do with his stewardship as CEO. Nigeria fell into an economic recession in 2016 following an oil price crash in 2014. Before then, the market was up 35% and 47% between 2012 and 2013 respectively. It lost for 3 years straight between 2014 and 2016 before rebounding in 2017 with a gain of 42%. Under Oscar, when the market gains, the returns are huge, and when it loses it is protracted.
Some critics also refer to transparency issues especially with disclosures and reporting giving undue advantage to insiders within listed companies. The NSE has rolled out several reforms in this regards but critics are still unsatisfied and believe he should do more. “In today’s market, we still see moves suggestive of insider trading and market manipulation. Nairametrics detailed one such move in this article.
In recognition of his contributions to Nigeria’s economic development and transformation of Africa’s capital markets, he was elected President of African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) in November 2014, demonstrating recognition and acceptance within the African region and Chairman of West African Capital Markets Integration Council (WACMIC) for 2013 -2015, demonstrating sub-regional pull and influence.
More so, Onyema has represented the NSE on several boards and Government bodies including PENCOM, FMDQ OTC Plc, Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS), Nigerian Capital Market Master Plan Implementation Council (CAMMIC), World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Agenda Council on Future of Financing and Capital, amongst others.