Nigeria’s Arunma Oteh appointed World Bank Vice president & Treasurer

The former Director General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh has been appointed the Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank Group. This makes Arunma the second Nigerian woman to hold the position of Vice president in the World Bank after Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. Arunma will be taking over from Doris Herrera-Pol, director and global head of capital markets who is set to retire in November this year.

Her appointment does not come as a surprise due to her strong articulation and implementation of reforms, which transformed Nigeria’s capital market for good. However, she will be tasked with the role of managing and leading a diverse team responsible for managing more than $150 billion in assets.

Her top priorities will include:

Maintaining the World Bank’s global reputation as a prudent and innovative borrower, investor and risk manager;

Managing an extensive client advisory, transaction and asset management business for the Bank;

Collaborating extensively with the Finance Partners throughout the WBG, including with IFC and MIGA, expanding shared approaches, in particular around innovative financing for development and for key new projects.

Arunma’s rise to success

Arunma is of a British and Nigerian nationality. She obtained a first class honours in Computer Science from the University of Nigeria Nsuka. In a quest to rise above her peers, she proceeded to obtain a master’s degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

Prior to her appointment as the DG of Nigeria’s SEC, Arunma had worked with the African Development Bank for 14 years. Her experience saw her rise to the position of the Vice President Corporate Management.

Arunma’s greatest achievement while at the SEC was her ability to change the Nigeria’s Security and Exchange Commission. She was able to restore investors’ confidence on the commission through strong enforcement actions and improvement of rules and regulations and investor education. Under her leadership the market was expanded, there was zero level of tolerance for rule infractions and Transparency.

To recognize her contribution to economic development and the transformation of Nigerian capital markets, she was made an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON)in 2011.  She was also named West Africa’s Business Woman of the year at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) and the Capital Market Personality of the Year at the Africa investor (Ai) Index Series Awards, both in 2014.

The day she shocked the world

In march 2012, Arunma and the SEC were supposed to be under scrutiny by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Other Financial Institutions — she stunned the world by alleging that the committee had demanded a combined bribe of N44 million ($221,000) from her. In her defence, she stared sternly into the eyes of Honourable Herman Hembe, and asked, “In asking SEC to contribute N39 million ($196,000) for this public hearing, [do] you think that you are not undermining your capacity to carry out your duties?” Hembe had also secured SEC’s sponsorship for a conference in Dominican Republic yet he neither attended nor refunded his ticket fare. This accusation eventually led to his resignation from the committee.

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