Following the completion of Fairfax Africa’s recent investment in Atlas Mara, the African banking platform has shuffled its Board of Directors. Fairfax Africa, which owns over 40% of the company, now has board representation, and is joined by two senior banking executives thereby allowing a couple of Atlas Mara’s founding directors to step back from their board responsibilities.
Most notable among those stepping down is Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Atlas Mara with Bob Diamond in late 2013. In comments, Diamond acknowledge his contribution to the company’s government and stakeholder relations initiatives as well as the development of Atlas Mara’s fintech business, areas in which it’s expected Thakkar will continue to advise and support. Founding Director Tonye Cole will also step back and focus on the company’s Nigerian operations, which are strategically critical for the firm.
As part of the deal, Fairfax Africa earned the right to appoint four directors to Atlas Mara’s board. These include Fairfax Africa’s CEO, Michael Wilkerson, who joins along with Richie Boucher, until very recently the CEO of the Bank of Ireland Group, Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, the the Chairman and Managing Director of Commercial International Bank of Egypt and Quinn McLean, a Vice President and member of Hamblin Watsa Investment Counsel, an investment advisor to Fairfax Financial Holdings.
According to the firm’s website, Atlas Mara, which has financial services operations or investments in seven sub-saharan countries with $2.6 billion in assets which employ over 1,600 people. The new directors took up their positions on October 2nd.