A fresh wind of change blows through the Keystone Bank Plc, like the proverbial north wind rattling a merchant ship. It dwindles confidences into a pale glow and instills the fear of Sule across every cadre of the bank’s staff as the Pacific gale taunts the soul of even the most sea-hardened sailor.
The storm of change courses through the financial institution at the emergence of Abubakar Sule as the new Managing Director (MD) of the bank. Soon after Sule was pronounced as the successor to the bank’s former MD, Obeahon Ohiwerei, every interest group, power bloc and cabal within the bank knew that real change was in the offing. They knew that things would never be the same with the bank .
Yet a palpable fear pervades the bank’s banking halls as staff across every cadre go to work with trepidation in their heart. Besides their fear of Sule’s no nonsense nature, rumour that he may downsize anytime soon is one of the ugly reasons for atmosphere of fear. No one knows where or on whom the perilous axe may strike.
According to an insider, “Chances are when you dash into any of the Keystone Bank branches around you for any form of transaction the bank workers might not welcome you with a smile that has been one of the trademarks of customer service of Keystone Bank. The reason is not farfetched: there is a new man at the helm of affairs and the reality is gradually dawning on the workforce that his leadership style is a total departure away from that of his predecessor. The assumption of office of Abubakar Sule as the Acting Managing Director of the bank has been one appointment received by his subordinates with low spirit. The staffers have been walking around like a cloud of doom with their brows furrow in deep worry”.
Prior his appointment, Abubakar was Deputy Managing Director of the bank since October 2016, and it was expected that his coming on board as head honcho of the bank of which he has been a part and parcel of would bring excitement to the staff. Only few at the top echelon of the bank appear to be indifferent to his Abubakar elevation as the general feeling has been that of apprehensiveness. Insiders source ascribe the pervasive misery to Abubukar’s impetuous and imperial nature as a leadership. According to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Abubakar’s breath-down-on-your-neck style comes with a feeling of unease and stifles staff creativity and performance.
The source further hinted that the erstwhile MD of the bank, Obeahon Ohiwerei, who suddenly resigned, was spiritedly appealed to by some influential staff and few board members within the system but all the appeals fell on deaf hear as Ohiwerei seemed to have made up his mind about leaving to pursue some “personal interests.” Ohiwerei was said to be a boss with listening ears and broad mind. It is being insinuated that Ohiwerei’s resignation must have been as a result of some well concealed high wire politics played at the top. There had been some subtle campaign of calumny against Ohiwerei in recent months to discredit his performance as CEO.
Issues had been raised about the steady increase in the bank’s non-performing loans and rising growth in the administrative and general expenses which allegedly were depressing the bank’s operating income and had increased the erosion of equity due to accumulated losses. The matter came to a head when the media was awash with unsavory reports about unhealthy indices about the bank. There are fears that the acting MD, a man with stern mien, might carry out some surgical operations that would axe many of the bank staff in the name of downsizing.