The recent nomination of Yemi Cardoso as the new CBN Governor has triggered a lot of excitement, expectations and projections by economic experts and analysts. The five-year appointment is subject to approval by the Senate.
Economic experts have said the nomination of Yemi Cardoso is a step in the right direction to fix the economy. Looking at the pedigree, achievements and capability of the new apex bank’s boss, it can be said that the Nigerian economy has started a journey to greatness.
Commenting on the recent nomination of the new CBN Governor and the new management team of the apex bank, Mallam Garba Kurfi, Managing Director of APT Securities and Fund Limited stated thus:
“For the first time we have a fellow Chartered Stockbroker as CBN Governor this will promote the Monetary policy that will promote Capital Market activities which will bring Foreign Investors into country. We expect to have Monetary policy that will align with fiscal policy to promote economy”
Olayemi Michael Cardoso is a Nigerian banker, Chartered Stockbroker and public policy expert. Over the course of his illustrious career, he has served for over four decades in the public, private and development sectors as a leader and innovator. Among his most impactful roles are: Commissioner in the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget; Chairman of the board of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance and, most recently, Chairman of Citibank Nigeria Ltd for 12 years, until his resignation in 2022.
Cardoso, a Lagosian, grew up and attended Corona School Ikoyi and St. Gregory’s College in Lagos for his primary and secondary education, respectively. He completed his undergraduate studies upon obtaining a Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University in 1980. He later furthered his education at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS), earning a Master’s degree in Public Administration in 2005 as a Mason Fellow.
In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the private and public sector, Cardoso was granted a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) (honoris causa) by Aston University in 2017. He is also esteemed as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers.
His dedication to lifelong learning has garnered recognition from various educational institutions, including as:
- Trustee of the Harvard club of Nigeria from 2022 till present
- Trustee of the Harvard Kennedy School Nigeria Alumni from 2020 till present
- Board advisor of the Lagos Business School from 2019 till present
- Trustee of St. Augustine University from 2018 till present
- Global Alumni-elected Board member of Harvard Kennedy School from 2006 – 2010
Cardoso began his professional career at Howard Tilly & Co., Chartered Accountants in London before transitioning to the banking industry. In 1981, he secured a position at the renowned Citibank, the largest financial services organization in the world at the time. Cardoso went through the Citibank credit training program in Athens, Greece, and was subsequently mobilised to Citibank in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 1982. He operated within the West Africa Regional Office/Non-Presence Country desk, which encompassed multiple countries in the sub-region where Citibank had exposure to sovereign debt but no physical presence.
In 1982, while Citibank was still awaiting a banking license in Nigeria, Cardoso returned to Nigeria and joined Chase Merchant Bank, an affiliate of Chase Manhattan. Within the bank, he contributed as a member of the credit and marketing team, focusing on trading, construction, and oil and gas relationships. His dedication and competence led to his promotion to the rank of Assistant Manager. However, in 1984, when Citibank obtained a license to operate as a full-fledged commercial bank in Nigeria, Cardoso seized the opportunity to rejoin Citibank as a founding member of Nigeria International Bank Limited. Notably, he assumed the role of Head of the World Corporation Group, responsible for managing crucial global relationships for Citibank. He also became a member of the bank’s credit committee with responsibility for assessing and approving credit limits.
A few years later in 1988, an enriching assignment awaited Cardoso when he was entrusted with the exceptional responsibility of setting up Citibank’s first branch outside Lagos, in Kano, Nigeria. From Kano, he spearheaded the bank’s endeavours across the northern part of Nigeria, making significant contributions to its growth and success. Eventually, Cardoso ascended to the distinguished position of Vice President, holding one of the highest-ranking positions within the bank.
In 1990, at 33 years of age, Cardoso, along with fellow Citibank colleagues, embarked on a new venture by founding Citizens Bank, Nigeria. Within the bank, he assumed leadership roles as the Head of Corporate Banking and Head of Treasury and Financial Institutions. Additionally, he served as an executive director for a remarkable eight years, contributing to the bank’s development and accomplishments.
In 1999, Cardoso was appointed a Commissioner in Lagos State, a state of significant economic importance within Nigeria and the broader African continent. He set up and oversaw Nigeria’s first stand-alone Ministry of Economic Planning & Budget, which became the think-tank of the administration and the champion of the reform process. That model has been replicated in most of the nation’s states. As Commissioner for Economic Planning & Budget, he spearheaded reforms and introduced innovative analytical and consultative mechanisms to enhance governance.