– UK, London – Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited (“Atlas Mara”) announces the appointment of Funke Opeke, Amadou Raimi and Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, Jr. as Independent Non-Executive Directors to the Board of Atlas Mara. The Company is also pleased to announce the appointment of Beatrice Hamza Bassey as General Counsel. The new directors’ appointments are effective immediately. Ms. Hamza Bassey will formally join Atlas Mara on February 16, 2015.
Ms. Opeke brings extensive experience in technology and telecommunications in sub-Saharan Africa. She is the founder and CEO of Main One Cable Company, a Nigeria-based telecommunications solutions provider that built West Africa’s first privately-owned, submarine cable system providing connectivity with the rest of the world. Prior to Main One Cable, she was Chief Operating Officer of Nitel in Nigeria and Chief Technology Officer of MTN (Nigeria). She began her career as a systems engineer before joining PA Consulting in New York and went on to hold senior positions at Allied Signal, Telcordia Communications and a venture capital-funded internet company. From 2001-2005, she was an Executive Director at Verizon Communications in New York. She graduated with a MS in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University (USA) and with a BS in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Ife (Nigeria).
Mr. Raimi is President of Croissance sud Conseils, an advisory firm focused on assisting African companies as they grow. He spent the majority of his career as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte in France (1976 – 2011). Most recently, he was Vice Chairman of the global Deloitte Board and, prior to that, served as Chairman of Deloitte in France. He led audit and consulting assignments for international companies, including Renault, Alstom and EDF, and contributed to the development and growth of Deloitte France’s offices in Africa, including in Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo, as well as his native Benin. He is expected to become Chairman of Atlas Mara’s Audit Committee. Mr. Raimi is a graduate of ESSEC in Paris. He was awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2009.
Mr. Mondlane, Jr.’s experience is in providing strategic advice to Africa-focused, multi-national corporations across the aviation, energy, and financial services industries. He is currently a senior strategic advisor to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in connection with their $30 billion liquid natural gas project in Mozambique. His previous roles have included serving as a Director of ABSA Financial Services, Barclays Bank Mozambique, and Banco Commercial Angolano. He also served for many years as a Non-Executive Director of ABSA Group, during which time the Board oversaw the merger between Barclays Africa and ABSA Group. In addition to these positions, he has provided strategic advice to industry-leading companies such as Boeing, Siemens, Sinohydro and Essar Global.
Ms Hamza Bassey joins Atlas Mara as General Counsel from the New York office of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. At Hughes Hubbard, her practice focused on ethics and compliance and complex litigation. Among other roles, she sat on the firm’s Executive Committee and was Chairperson of its Africa practice. Ms. Hamza Bassey serves on the Anti-Corruption and Litigation Committees of the International Bar Association and is a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Council, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Nigerian Bar Association and the New York Bar Association. She earned her B.L. and LL.M from Nigeria Law School and Harvard Law School respectively.
Arnold Ekpe, Chairman, said: “On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to welcome such accomplished individuals to Atlas Mara. “Funke, Amadou and Eduardo bring complementary skills to a very strong existing slate of Directors. Funke’s knowledge of technology and telecoms is invaluable, given our focus on providing innovative solutions to IT and retail mobile banking in Africa. Amadou’s audit experience will ensure that we maintain strong systems and controls and the Board and Company will no doubt benefit from Eduardo’s extensive experience advising companies on successfully growing and operating throughout sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in financial services. We look forward to working closely with them.”
John Vitalo, CEO of Atlas Mara said: “Echoing Arnold’s comments, each of the new Directors brings a wealth of expertise critical to the execution of Atlas Mara’s strategy to become sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial services institution and their appointments are consistent with our goal of establishing ‘best-in-class’ corporate governance practices. I am also delighted that we have been able to attract such an accomplished attorney as Beatrice Hamza Bassey to serve as our General Counsel. Beatrice’s technical expertise and experience of advising African companies on their compliance and ethics will be invaluable in her new role overseeing and coordinating legal and compliance functions across the group.”
About Atlas Mara
Atlas Mara was formed by Bob Diamond, CEO and Founder of Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and Ashish J. Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group Holdings Limited, and listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013.
Atlas Mara’s strategy is to create Sub-Saharan Africa’s premier financial services institution through a combination of its experience, expertise and access to capital, liquidity and funding. The goals are to combine the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights and experience and to support economic growth and financial inclusion in the countries in which the Company operates.
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