EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was published on 25 April 2012.
Today is a sad day for some employees of Zenith Bank PLC, one of Nigeria’s leading new generation banks, who were served notices terminating their appointments and services.
We are unable to ascertain the actual figure of those affected, with an initial report claiming no fewer than 1,200 were involved from all the bank’s branches.
A source close to the bank told Premium Times that about 240 people, including eight General Managers and 40 Assistant General Managers, were affected.
What is, however, clear is that the action swept away most of the top management staff in a deliberate attempt by the bank to drastically cut down on its top-heavy management structure.
“One thing that is clear is that Zenith Bank is not under any threat,” the source, who spoke with our reporter on condition of anonymity. “With the current crisis in the banking industry in the country, it is incumbent on any bank that wants to grow to bend backwards to re-strategize and restructure its operations to expand and grow.
“The number might not be as high as is being speculated. But, the decision is not by accident. It is a deliberate one because the time is ripe for the bank to restructure the management and reposition its operations for greater efficiency and profitability both for shareholders and investors. The decision was inevitable that it had to happen.
“If one looks at Zenith Bank, it was becoming top-heavy, with many of the managers earning so much that could have been enough to support the business growth plans. With the action now, there is no doubt that a lot of money would be saved for the bank.”
The source, however, denied speculations about the mode of serving notification of sack on the affected staff, saying it was not true that they were informed through text messages.
“A formal meeting was held with the affected staff since Monday this week, where details of their disengagement benefits were discussed and agreement reached,” the source explained.
Zenith Bank says its overall vision is to emerge a reputable international financial services network recognized for innovation, superior customer service and performance while creating premium value for all stakeholders.
With the latest development, the bank joins the growing list of banks in the financial sector of the economy to embark on the restructuring of its staff as a strategy to repositioning for growth.
Recently, Access Bank, which acquired former Intercontinental Bank in the wake of the bank consolidation policy, dispensed with the services of over 1,600 of its workers across the nation, while Mainstreet Bank, one of the three nationalised banks is reported to have equally sent more than 400 of its workers away for a similar reason.