By Miracle Nwankwo
Africa has a growing number of women leaders in different sectors, working tirelessly to contribute to the continent’s emerging economy. A typical example of such women is Oluwatoyin F Sanni, former Group Chief Executive Officer of United Capital Plc, who currently sits as the Chief Executive officer of Emerging Africa Capital.
Sanni was born in 1965 to a strong Christian family of nine, consisting of her father, mother and seven children. Her father was an accountant and her mother was in business.
Sanni had her early education in Queen’s School, Ibadan, then she moved to the University of Ife, Nigeria to study law and she bagged a law degree at the age of 18 (in 1984). Afterwards, Sanni moved to Lagos State, Nigeria where she gained a BL from the Nigerian Law School in Lagos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1985.
She later attended the University of Lagos where she got her master’s degree, in 1988 and then Harvard Business School Executive Education, Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University CEO Program and IESE Business School Chief Executive Program. Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (2015).
She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Fellow, IAPM, Associate, Institute of Directors and of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (ICSA) the UK.
Prior to her appointment as the Chief Executive officer of Emerging Africa Capital, Sanni served for over four years as Group Chief Executive Officer of United Capital Plc (formerly UBA Capital Plc), a leading African Investment Banking group listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange comprising market-leading business divisions in Investment Banking, Trust, Asset Management and Securities Divisions.
At United Capital, Sanni started as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Trustees & Global Investor Services for 8 years during which she grew the Trust business from startup to a clear market leader. She also established and grew UBA’s domestic custody business to top 3 industry position.
Before joining the UBA Trustees, she was Managing Director of Cornerstone Trustees Limited where she established and supervised the Cornerstone group’s trusts, asset management equipment leasing businesses. She also served as Assistant General Manager – Trust Services at First Trustees, a part of the FBN Holdings Group, between 1999 and 2003.
Her other past roles include Chairperson, Annual Capital Market Retreat and Conference (2012-2014), President, Association of Trustees, Chairman, Committee on Custody of Securities and Member, National Bond Steering Committee amongst others.
Currently, Sanni sits on several Boards and has served on several industries and regional committees, including; EAC Advisory Limited, EAC Trustees Limited, Emerging Africa Asset Management Limited, Trancsorp Plc, PEARL Awards and NEPAD Business Group Nigeria.
She is an adviser to the micro banking company Mamamoni, a FinTech social enterprise that empowers poor rural and urban slum women with free vocational skills and Mobile Loans. Sanni was the founder in 2016 and chairperson of Women in Finance Nigeria (WIFng), a not for profit organization focused on advocacy for Nigerian women in the finance sector.
Sanni chairs the Financial Literacy Technical Committee (FLTC) of the Nigerian Capital Market. She is also the President of the Association of Investment Advisers and Portfolio Managers (IAPM).
Following her efforts and outstanding performance in the above roles, she has been recognized and commended on various platforms including CNBC Africa’s AABLA awards in conjunction with Forbes Africa, where she emerged as the winner of the All African Business Woman of the year, West-Africa and also the All African Business Woman of the year, Africa, in the same year.
Sanni is the first female to win Nigeria’s CEO of the Year by Pearl Awards (Performance, Earnings And Returns Leadership), an award instituted in 1995 to reward companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange for outstanding operational and stock performance, to enhance the vibrancy, growth and development of the Capital Market.
She also won the BusinessDay Top 25 CEO on the NSE Award in 2014, 2015 and 2016, amongst many other awards. She also led her company to win the Best Corporate Governance, Highest Dividend Yield and Sectoral Award categories, clinching the Best Overall Company Award.