SOURCE: ATLAS Mara Limited

February 16, 2017 03:32 ET

ATLAS Mara Limited: Strategic Update & Leadership Changes

TORTOLA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS--(Marketwired - Feb 16, 2017) - ATLAS Mara Limited (LSE: ATMA)


Atlas Mara Limited
16 February 2017

Accelerated Strategic Execution, Successful Equity Raising, Leadership Change and Rationalization of Costs

Atlas Mara Limited (the "Company" or the "Group"), the sub-Saharan Africa banking group, today announces several measures to accelerate its strategic execution of its three core areas: Commercial and Retail Banking, Fintech, and Markets and Treasury. This will enable faster expansion and responsiveness to changes in the market environment. As part of the execution strategy, the company plans to significantly reduce operating expense and staff cost at the center by more than US$20 million per year on an annualised basis.

The Group's three core businesses will be run by existing Group leadership: Sanjeev Anand will become Group Managing Director for Retail and Commercial Banking, Mike Christelis, Group Managing Director for Markets and Treasury, and Chidi Okpala, Group Managing Director for Fintech.

Effective 15 February, John Vitalo stepped down as CEO and from the Board. John joined the company in 2014 as Atlas Mara's first CEO, leading the company to its current, profitable seven-country footprint and operational scale. The Board will appoint a new Group CEO in due course.

To seed its Fintech and Global Markets Business, and for general corporate purposes, the company successfully closed an oversubscribed equity raise through a placing of ordinary shares. Over 90% of this offering was subscribed by our existing shareholders, as announced to the market earlier today.

Atlas Mara expects its 2016 full year earnings to be broadly in line with market expectations.

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

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


Sanjeev Anand

Sanjeev has been Managing Director of Banque Populaire du Rwanda Ltd (BPR) since January 2016. BPR was formed by the merger of BRD-Commercial Rwanda with BPR. The majority shareholder is Atlas Mara and Rabobank is the largest minority shareholder.

Prior to his current appointment, Sanjeev Anand was Managing Director of I&M Bank Rwanda Limited (previously Banque Commerciale du Rwanda-BCR). During this period, he managed the transition of ownership of the bank from Actis to the I&M consortium, comprising I&M Bank, DEG and PROPARCO.

Prior to joining BCR/I&M, Sanjeev had a long career spanning 25 years with Citibank, where he held a number of senior assignments across Asia, Europe, America and Africa. Some of the key positions he held during this period were as CEO of Citibank in Zambia and Uganda and Executive Director of Citibank Nigeria.

Mike Christelis

Mike Christelis joined Atlas Mara as the Head of Treasury and Markets in 2015. Mike has a total of 30 years corporate and banking experience.

Prior to joining Atlas Mara Mike worked for Barclays Africa and Absa Capital for seven years, the last three of which he was the Head of Markets for Sub-Saharan Africa. In this role, he managed the markets area of the 12 Barclays Africa businesses. During this time Mike was responsible for transforming the business from a purely retail managed business into a full investment bank operation, growing the product range while at the same time implementing a rigorous control framework and growing revenue.

Mike also worked for 11 years at Rand Merchant bank in various roles as well as in corporate treasury at Bayer and Siemens.

Chidi Okpala

Chidi was appointed Chief Digital Officer at Atlas Mara in January 2016 to drive the Innovation, Digital Financial Services and Financial Inclusion agenda across our sub-Saharan franchises.

Prior to that, he was with Bharti Airtel International as CEO for Airtel Money, with responsibility for Mobile Money businesses across 17 countries in Africa. While at Bharti, he built Airtel Money to become one of the largest providers of Retail Financial Services in Africa with 12m active (90Day) customers and over 100m and $2B in monthly transaction count and value.

Before Bharti Airtel, he was the Division CEO for Retail Banking at United Bank for Africa Plc, overseeing Personal and Business Banking in 19 countries. He earlier had a two-year stint with Accenture as a Senior Consultant in the Strategy and Business Architecture.

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