SOURCE: ATLAS Mara Limited

October 03, 2017 03:40 ET

Atlas Mara Limited: Directorate Change

TORTOLA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS--(Marketwired - Oct 3, 2017) - Atlas Mara Limited (LSE: ATMA)

LSE: ATMA

3 October 2017

Atlas Mara Limited ("Atlas Mara")

Strategic Update

Following its recently completed strategic transaction with Fairfax Africa, Atlas Mara Limited ("Atlas Mara" or the "Company" and, including its subsidiaries, the "Group"), the sub-Saharan African financial services group, today announces changes to its Board and management.

In accordance with the terms of the agreement entered into with Fairfax Africa as part of the Placing and Open Offer (the "Strategic Financing"), the Atlas Mara Board has approved the appointments of Michael Wilkerson, Richard Boucher, Quinn McLean and Hisham Ezz Al-Arab (the "New Directors") to the Board of Directors. Co-founder Ashish J. Thakkar and Tonye Cole, Chair of the Nomination Committee are stepping down from their respective roles on the Board. Following these changes, which take effect from October 2, 2017, Rachel Robbins, Amadou Raimi, Funke Opeke and Eduardo Mondlane, Jr. will remain on the Board.

Bob Diamond, Chairman of the Board, said: "On behalf of the Board, I wish to thank my partner and co-founder, Ashish and Tonye, one of our founding directors, for their incredible contributions to the Board. Ashish played an important role supporting the team in our Fintech business line and government and stakeholder relations, and will remain available to support us in these areas. Tonye will remain engaged in our Nigeria operations given the importance of Nigeria for our strategy." Regarding the incoming Board members, Mr. Diamond stated: "I am pleased to welcome such accomplished individuals to the Atlas Mara Board. Their skills and experience are excellent complements for our Board as we grow from strength to strength."

Mr. Thakkar stated, "I am proud of what Bob and I have accomplished with Atlas Mara to position it for the next phase of growth. There is an unbelievable opportunity to grow the company's footprint and boost financial inclusion on our continent via facilitating access to finance for the underserved particularly SMEs. As a co-founder, I look forward to continuing to support the team to realize our vision."

The Company also announces that Arina McDonald will today step down from her position as Chief Financial Officer to relocate back to South Africa for personal reasons and to pursue other interests. In the interim, Mr. Kenroy Dowers, Group MD of Strategy and Investments will assume the role of CFO until a permanent hire is selected.

Ms. McDonald said, "The last three years have been rewarding and I am pleased to depart at a time when the company is well-positioned for the future. I will continue to follow the company closely as it builds on the positive momentum evident in its results. I thank Bob and the Board for all we have realized together over this period."

"On behalf of our board and leadership team, I want to thank Arina for her dedicated service to Atlas Mara over the last three years. Her departure follows the positive momentum seen in our recent half year results. We wish her much success in her future endeavours." says Bob Diamond.
Atlas Mara remains on track with its profit and cost savings goals announced earlier this year.

Contact Details
Investors
Kojo Dufu, +1 212 883 4330

Media
Teneo Blue Rubicon, +44 (20) 7260 2700
Anthony Silverman

About the New Directors

Michael Wilkerson
Mr. Wilkerson is Chief Executive Officer and a director of Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation (TSX: FAH.U), an Africa focused investment holding company.

Prior to joining Fairfax Africa, Mr. Wilkerson served as the Managing Partner of AgriGroupe Limited, an Africa focused private investment firm which he co-founded in 2013 and whose core investment thesis was Food and Energy Security for the African Century. AgriGroupe sponsored in 2014 the $500 million take private acquisition of AFGRI Limited, South Africa's leading agricultural and diversified foods group and the largest non-bank lender to the agricultural sector in South Africa.

Previously, Mr. Wilkerson served as Global Co-Head of the Consumer, Food & Retail Group and as a Managing Director in the Financial Institutions Group at Lazard, one of the world's preeminent financial advisory and asset management firms. Mr. Wilkerson was also a Managing Director at Citigroup, where he led the Financial Institutions M&A effort in New York.

Mr. Wilkerson is Chairman of the Boards of Directors of each of AFGRI and Clean Energy Africa and a director of Ascendant Learning Limited and Invest Africa US. Since 2008, he has served as a director (most recently as Chairman of the board) of charity: water, one of the world's largest non-profits focused on clean water solutions in Africa. Over this period, charity: water has successfully deployed US$110 million in support of projects across 15 countries in Africa.

Mr. Wilkerson holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, a M.A. in International Relations from Yale University and a B.S. summa cum laude from Oral Roberts University.

Richie Boucher
Richie Boucher was, until October 1, 2017, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Bank of Ireland Group having taken up that role in February 2009.

Working with the Bank of Ireland Group Board and colleagues across the Group, Mr. Boucher was responsible for leading the team which recommended the strategy, developed the plans, led negotiations and the implementation of the restructuring and recapitalisation (from the private sector) of the Bank of Ireland Group, restoring the Group to sustainable profitability. The restructuring ensured all taxpayer guarantee liabilities were extinguished and all taxpayer investment repaid with a significant cash profit to the Irish taxpayers, as well as undertaking major self-funded investments in and enhancements of BOI Group's business models and infrastructure ensuring long term competitiveness and sustainability.

Bank of Ireland is the largest lender into the Irish Economy with significant market shares in all of its business lines. The Bank also has a significant presence in the United Kingdom and specialist businesses in Europe and the US. In the year to December 2016 BOI Group recorded an underlying profit before tax of EUR 1.1bn and at that date had a loan to deposit ratio of 104% and a net stable funding ratio of 122%.

Prior to assuming the role as Group CEO, Mr. Boucher was Chief Executive of Retail Banking at Bank of Ireland from 2006 - 2008 and had been Chief Executive, Corporate Banking from 2004 - 2006. Before that, Mr. Boucher worked in Ireland, the UK and the US in various roles for Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest Bank, Ulster Bank and the Industrial Credit Corporation.

He also serves as a non - Executive Director of Eurobank Ergasias since January 2017.

Mr. Boucher was born in Zambia and educated in Southern Africa before obtaining an Economics Degree from Trinity College Dublin in 1980.

Hisham Ezz Al-Arab
Hisham Ezz Al-Arab has been Chairman and Managing Director of Commercial International Bank of Egypt (CIB) since 2002. He today leads a team of more than 6,450 professionals who have transformed the institution from a wholesale lender into Egypt's largest private-sector bank, leading the sector on key metrics including revenue, profitability, net worth and market share of deposits. CIB serves more than one million customers, from individual customers to small- and medium-sized businesses and leading corporations, among them Egypt's 500 largest companies. The bank's market capitalization has grown from EGP 1 billion at the beginning of Mr. Ezz Al-Arab's term to EGP 96 billion, making its stock - a blue chip component of the Egyptian Exchange - the global investment community's preferred proxy for Egypt and a benchmark for the banking industry in emerging markets.

Under his leadership, CIB was named Euromoney's Best Bank in the Middle East and Best Bank in Global Emerging Markets for 2017 and was named African Banker's 2016 Socially Responsible Bank of the Year. Mr. Ezz Al-Arab was recognized in 2016 by Euromoney for his "Outstanding Contribution to Financial Services in the Middle East" and was EMEA Finance's "Best CEO in Egypt and Africa" at the magazine's 2014 Banking Awards. In 2010, Mr. Ezz Al Arab launched the CIB Foundation, a leading Egyptian voice for universal access to quality healthcare extended to underprivileged children.

Mr. Ezz Al Arab leads the Federation of Egyptian Banks as chairman, is a member of the Institute of International Finance's Emerging Markets Advisory Council, and serves as a director of MasterCard Middle East's Regional Advisory Board. He is also the chairman of Board of Trustees of the CIB Foundation and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American University in Cairo, Egypt's premier private university. Mr. Ezz Al-Arab is also a director of Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation.

Mr. Ezz Al Arab joined CIB from Deutsche Bank and previously served with both JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch in postings that took him to Bahrain, New York and Cairo. He holds a bachelor degree in Commerce from Cairo University.

Quinn McLean
Quinn McLean is a Vice President and a member of the investment committee of Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel (the investment advisor of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited. Mr. McLean has over 12 years of experience in investment management and currently manages the investment float for Fairfax Financial in the Middle East and Africa. Mr. McLean is also a director of Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation.

Mr. McLean is a director of Gulf Insurance Group (Kuwait), AFGRI Limited (South Africa), APR Energy (Jacksonville, United States), FarmersEdge (Winnipeg, Canada) and Fairfax Africa Holdings Corporation (Toronto, Canada).

Mr. McLean earned his B.A. (Accounting) and MBA from the University of Toronto, received a Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Professional Accountant.

About Atlas Mara
Atlas Mara Limited (LON: ATMA) is a financial services institution listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its vision is to create sub-Saharan Africa's premier financial services institution through organic and inorganic growth by combining the best of global institutional knowledge with extensive local insights. With a presence in seven sub-Saharan countries, Atlas Mara aims to be a positive disruptive force in the markets in which we operate by leveraging technology to provide innovative and differentiated product offerings, excellent customer service and accelerate financial inclusion in the countries in which the Company operates. For more information, visit www.atlasmara.com.

Atlas Mara's Board of Directors
Robert E. Diamond, Jr.
Rachel F. Robbins
Amadou Raimi
Eduardo C. Mondlane Jr.
Funke Opeke
Michael Wilkerson
Richie Boucher
Hisham Ezz Al-Arab
Quinn McLean

Contact Information