The outgoing managing director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Olalekan Sanusi, has left The Gambia with mixed feelings after spending more than five years at GTBank’s helm of affairs in the country.
|[L - R] Mr Sanusi shakes hand with Mr Omotoso (new GTBank MD)|
“It is with mixed feelings that I will be leaving The Gambia. Mixed feelings because it is a place I have stayed for five and half years - and it is a place I like. I have fallen in love with The Gambia already,” Mr Sanusi.
Speaking at the party organised by the bank to bid him farewell as well welcome his successor, Mr Sanusi expressed delight that under his leadership the bank was able to produce very sound results.
Mr Sanusi came to The Gambia as managing director of GTBank in February 2006 succeeding Mr Richards, who has now retired.
Sanusi is expected to move Ghana, where he would serve as the managing director of GTBank Ghana, the
second largest subsidiary of GTBank outside Nigeria. He has already been succeeded by Mr Olufemi Omotoso, who was the managing director of GTBank Liberia.
Achievements by GTbank Gambia under Mr Sanusi
A Powerpoint presentation, prepared by the bank’s head of corporate affairs, Babou Gai, showed at the ceremony held at Coco Ocean on 21 October this year, indicated that since Sanusi came to The Gambia in 2006, the bank has continued to register significant growth in all financial performance indicators year on year.
The bank’s deposit liabilities, total asset, profit before tax, and gross earning all registered an upward movement under Sanusi’s leadership, according to the presentation.
“When I came in 2006, I met a balance sheet size of D470 million and by the end of 2006 we have grown it to D960 million and as we speak today the balance sheet is in the region of D2.6 billion,” the outgoing MD said at the ceremony attended by senior management directors of various banks in the country as well as a cross-section of the staff of GTBank.
In terms of profitability, Mr Sanusi said: “When I came in 2006, the 2005 result of the bank was just released and the bank made D14 million profit in that year. In my own first year, 2006, the bank made D28 million profit. That following year, the bank made D59 million. Year on year the bank continued to witness growth upon growth and at the end of last year the bank made D80 million profit.”
In terms of expansion of the bank, in 2006, GTBank has four branches and as of now, the bank is having fifteen branches and the 16th branch is under construction, Sanusi said, adding that GTBank under his tenure had entered the bracket of ‘large taxpayers’ corporate institutions.
Asked about the factors responsible for the success of GTBank over the years, Mr Sanusi said: “Obviously, two factors have supported the successes of GTBank: one is the staff and the other is the customers and they are the most important one. I am proud of our customers. I am so closed to some of them [the customers] that we have become personal friends. I wish that the relationship continues. However, I would like them to repose the confidence they reposed in me on the new managing director.”
Comments about his successor
Mr Sanusi said his successor, Mr Olufemi Omotoso, is an individual he has known for several years in the Guaranty Trust Bank family. “I know him as a highly qualified and technically competent person. He is coming to The Gambia with a rich background and I don’t have any doubt about his capability and ability to succeed in this job. He is coming to The Gambia with a wealth of experience which is quite formidable,” he said.
The outgoing GTBank thanked everyone who has contributed to the success of GTBank under his tenure. “I want to say a very big thank-you to the customers, to the staff and the Government of The Gambia and of course to my lovely wife who have been so supportive. I want to also thank every other person who has contributed to the success of GTBank Gambia.
“Even the mass media, you have been very supportive of GTBank. Don’t think I don’t know, I say a very big thank-you to you.”
staff comments about Olalekan Sanusi
Alhagie Saihou Denton, group head, public sector of GTBank Gambia, said Sanusi is a very dynamic managing director. “He is someone of vision. In terms of his overall character I will say that he is a very strong and driving personality. Definitely has a good tenure as an MD and under his leadership the bank rose to very higher heights. So definitely my legacy of him is that of a very successful, ambitious and very high impactful individual.
“Lekan is a very phenomenal guy, is a very special guy. People outside of the bank may not know his potentials,” said Babou Gai, GTBank head of corporate affairs, one of the members of staff who worked directly with Mr Sanusi. “One thing that I experienced with Lekan is that he has the bank at heart.”
Babou continues: “Lekan has a wealth of knowledge that can always be tapped. There is no problem that you face Lekan with that he would not help you with a solution. He would sit with you and share his experience with you. He is somebody when you come with your problem he tells you ‘sit down and let me teach or advise you’. Many people have benefited from him immensely.
“When I was coming to the bank, I was not well vast in banking operations. I have media background, but having worked under Lekan, today I can proudly call myself a banker and I can talk on banking with authority. The day I started working at GTBank was the day I started to have direct contact with Lekan. Since then there is no single day that I will not have contact with him. He is a person who builds confidence in people and after building confidence in you, he leaves you to work on your own, even though he supervises you.”
The New MD’s comments
Mr Femi Omotoso has confirmed that his predecessor has taken the bank to a great height. He has done a lot in terms of the bank’s performance (both on profitability and other financial indices).
He said: “Where he stopped, we are going to further lift the bank up in terms of performance, in terms of customer services so that we can dominate the banking landscape in The Gambia. We are going to continue to be at the cutting edge of customer service in order to take the bank to higher heights.”
Up to the task of the competition in the country
The new MD said he is up to the task of meeting the challenges of the competition in The Gambia’s banking industry. He says although there are thirteen banks in the Gambia banking industry, which he has described as not-too-great-market, the challenge is a cut-throat competition. However, he said, Liberia where he has come from as executive director, “the competition is also very high there”. “So we are well vast in tackling those kinds of issues. It’s not something we have not seen before,” MD Omotoso said.