The economic history of great nations have their roots in rapid industrialization. It involves prioritizing sectors that can berth an economy beyond the takeoff stage of growth as envisioned by Walt Withman Rostow, a development economist, to a stage of high mass consumption. Stand placed as catalyst to achieve that in Nigeria is the Bank of Industry (BOI) while the alchemist within the walls of the strategic institution is Olukayode Pitan, a banker and economist.
BOI was set up in 2001 out of the vestiges of the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank which was set up in 1964, it is therefore the country’s oldest, largest and most successful development finance institution. The bank has been led by many great Nigerians including the late icon, Rasheed Gbadamosi (as Chairman ), a one time commissioner for Economic Planning in Lagos State and one time federal minister National Planning. Such are the large shoes Pitan must fill. But there’s little doubt that he fits the billing. All he needs to do is focus on the bank’s vision of wanting to ‘to be Africa’s leading Development Finance Institution operating under global best practices’.
Mr. Pitan’s pedigree should come to play in steering the ship of this enduring institution. He has corporate and banking experience spanning over 25 years. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Economics as a UAC scholar from the University of Ibadan in 1982. He obtained a Master’s degree in International Management as a Rotary International Scholar from the American Graduate School of International Management, Thunderbird Campus, Glendale, Arizona. He is an alumnus of Lagos Business School (SMP 5) and London Business School (SEP 43 ). He is also an alumnus of the Haggai Institute in Singapore. He is an ordained senior pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Pitan started his banking career in 1986 at Citibank Nigeria. He subsequently joined Industrial Bank Limited (Merchant Bankers) as part of the pioneer team in the role of Head, Trade Finance. He left the Bank in 1991 to run Credit Lease Nigeria Limited, a company founded by him to pursue his dream in export business.
Mr. Pitan came back to the banking industry in 1996 by joining FSB International Bank Plc as AGM / Head of Middle Tier market and public sector. He later served as Group Head, Commercial and Consumer Banking Group. He also headed the Corporate Banking and Energy groups. He was promoted to Executive Director of the Bank and Managing Director of ENSEC (Energy division) in March 2001.
Mr. Pitan joined First Interstate Bank Plc in August 2004 as Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. He led the Bank successfully through a merger with eight other Banks to form Unity Bank Plc. From January 2006 to February 2009 when he voluntarily retired, he served as Executive Director of Unity Bank Plc in charge of Corporate Banking and Treasury Management.
He had participated in many innovative transactions in the Nigerian Capital Market. He was the Chairman of the Technical Committee that led to the merger of Centerpoint Securities Ltd and FIIST Ventures Ltd to form Unity Registrars Ltd and served as Chairman of the Unity Registrars Ltd. He was also the Chairman of the Technical Committee that merged Kapital insurance Plc, lntercontinental Assurance Company Ltd and Global Commerce and General Assurance Co Ltd into UnityKapital lnsurance Co Plc and also served as Director of the new entity.
He was the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the landmark transaction where nine banks were merged to form Unity Bank PLC and the listing of the bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He also midwifed the formation of FUG Pensions Limited by serving as the Technical Chairman for the pooling together of the interests of Futureview Financial Services Ltd, Unity Bank Plc and Glanvill Enthoven & Co Ltd to form a viable and significant player in the Pensions management industry. He subsequently served as Chairman of FUG Pensions Ltd. Mr Pitan has also served as the alternative Director of Kakawa Discount House Limited, Director Newdevco Investments & Securities co. Limited, Director Banque International Du Benin (BIBE) and currently Chairman, Habitation of Hope- An NGO set up by Pastor(Mrs) Folu Adeboye to salvage, transform and empower the abandoned, hopeless and homeless street boys and girls in our society. He was recently the MD/CEO of Caroline Properties Ltd and director of Excel E& P Ltd. E& P Ltd.
With such a robust background in corporate Nigeria, Pitan has seen it all and should be in good stead to help BOI meet its mandate and deliver industrialization to Nigeria.