The brains behind Nigerian bourse’s demutualisation bows out 13 years after

“I am deeply appreciative of the privilege to have led The Nigerian Stock Exchange as its CEO and later, Nigerian Exchange Group Plc as its GMD/CEO.”

Those were the words of Mr Oscar Onyema in a statement announcing his retirement today. 

Onyema will embark on his terminal leave effective 1 January 2024 ahead of the end of his tenure on 31 March 2024. Temi Popoola, the current CEO of the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), has been appointed as the GMD/CEO-designate of NGX Group.

Dr Umaru Kwairanga, chairman of NGX Group, described Onyema’s leadership as stellar. 

“Mr. Onyema led the stabilisation, growth, demutualisation and restructuring of The Nigerian Stock Exchange to NGX Group Plc, a public company limited by shares, which is a significant milestone in the organisation’s history. He also led the listing of the company on the main board of NGX,” he said.

The completion of the demutualisation of the then NSE was announced in March 2021. 

Following the demutualisation, a new non-operating holding company, the NGX Group, was created, with three operating subsidiaries, namely, NGX, the operating exchange; NGX Regulation Limited, the independent regulation company; and NGX Real Estate Limited, the real estate company. 

“I extend my best wishes to Mr. Popoola, and have full confidence in his capabilities to continue the legacy and growth of NGX Group. I am grateful for the support and dedication of the entire team at NGX Group and capital market stakeholders throughout my tenure. Together, we drove significant development in the African capital markets, and I am proud of the various accomplishments we have achieved since 2011,” Onyema said in the statement.

“As I step into a new phase, I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition and look forward to witnessing the continued growth and prosperity of NGX Group under Mr. Popoola’s leadership. The future is indeed promising,” he added.

Onyema assumed office in April 2011 as the CEO of the country’s stock exchange. He completed his second term in 2021. 

He is a former president of African Securities Exchanges Association and a former chairman of West African Capital Market Integration Council, where he supported efforts to integrate securities markets in the West African sub-region.

In 2014, Onyema received the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger from the Federal Government of Nigeria in recognition of his contribution to economic development, the transformation of the Nigerian stock exchange and the capital markets.

Prior to relocating to Nigeria, he served as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at American Stock Exchange (AMEX), which he joined in 2001. After the merger of NYSE Euronext and AMEX in 2008, he ran the NYSE AMEX equity business, which he helped to position as a premier market for small and mid-cap securities. He started his Wall Street career at the New York Mercantile Exchange in 1997.

Onyema is an alumnus of Harvard Business School (Advanced Management Program), The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (Board of Directors Development Program) and INSEAD International Directors Programme. He has an MBA from Baruch College, New York and a BSc from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors Nigeria, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, Associate of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment in the UK, and holds FINRA Series 7, 24, 63 qualifications in the United States.

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