Belfast Telegraph

Bob Diamond steps down as chairman of Atlas Mara

The pan-African financial services group is to launch a strategic review of its operations.

Former Barclays boss Bob Diamond has stepped back from his role at Atlas Mara as the pan-African financial firm launches a strategic review of its operations.

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.

Mr Diamond, who founded Atlas Mara six years ago, is to step down as chairman as part of a shake-up at the group and will stay on as non-executive director.

Atlas Mara, which invests in financial services companies across sub-Saharan Africa, is to weigh up which markets it will continue to operate in and which to leave.

As part of a review of its operations the company will aim to “ensure that top five market leadership is practicably achievable in the near term, or to explore transactions that will reduce risk exposure where such leadership is unlikely on a standalone basis”.

It is also considering buying a 35% stake in South African financial services provider GroCapital Holdings from Fairfax Africa, Atlas Mara’s largest shareholder.

My belief in our ambition - to create a premier sub-Saharan African financial institution to better serve continental and global customers - remains as strong as the day we founded the company Bob Diamond

Mr Diamond has been chairman of Atlas Mara for two years and initially assumed the role on an interim basis as the company struggled to control costs.

Atlas Mara shares have plunged about 86% since the company floated in 2013.

The company said Mr Diamond’s return as a non-executive director of the group will allow him to “increase his focus on his other executive roles while continuing to contribute actively to Atlas Mara’s growth and strategic direction”.

Mr Diamond will be succeeded by Fairfax Africa boss Michael Wilkerson as executive chairman of Atlas Mara. The company has also appointed Muhammad ‘Omar’ Khan as chief financial officer, effective from April.

Mr Diamond said: “I am excited to return to my original role on the board and to continue to partner with Michael to accelerate the execution of our strategy.

“My belief in our ambition – to create a premier sub-Saharan African financial institution to better serve continental and global customers – remains as strong as the day we founded the company.”

Veteran banker Mr Diamond served as chief executive at Barclays between 2011 and 2012 – before resigning amid the Libor scandal.

Press Association

Popular