Bento Africa says it has removed its chief executive officer, Ebun Okubanjo, from all “people-related” decisions after a report revealed the demeaning treatment Mr Okubanjo subjected his staff to.
The company’s investors said they had launched an investigation into the current workplace culture at Bento and are reviewing the human resources and people practices and guidelines at the payroll solutions firm. While Mr Okubajo continues in other roles, the co-founder of the company, Chidozie Okonkwo, will handle matters related to the workers.
“We instructed that Ebun take some time off and removed him from all people related decisions for now. Chidozie will now lead on this along with the country managers and functional heads,” a statement on the firm’s website said.
“We are aware of the wider impact the conversation has sparked and we will lean into it, not just at Bento but across our personal portfolios – there is no place in the world for a workplace that isn’t healthy; it is unkind and does not build good companies.”
Mr Ebun confirmed the decision in a message Thursday and apologised to employees of his company, promising to do better.
“To everyone who has been on the receiving end of my outburst, either written or verbally — I am sorry. I have some work to do here and there is a lot of room for growth,” he wrote on Medium.
“…I will step away from all people’s decisions in the company. Chidozie will take over along with our new head of People — Her arrival could not have been more timely.”
The announcements come after a report by the technology media platform, Tech Cabal, revealed troubling details of Mr Ebun’s abrasive relationship with his staff, and how he disrespected them.
The report sparked conversations online about toxic workplaces and many Nigerians have shared their experiences with impertinent bosses.
Some Bento employees on Twitter commented on work emails which they received at odd hours from Mr Okubanjo.
Acknowledging, Mr Okubanjo said those emails were because he had no balance in his life — only work.
“I guess it is easy to expect the unreasonable from others when you are not being reasonable with yourself.”
“To everyone who I have ever made to feel less than, who have felt that fire that burns so hot when we are in the thick of it, I am so sorry for the emotional and mental stress I caused you. Please reach out to me and let me know how I can personally fix it — my numbers are the same,” he added.
A Twitter user, Rachel Babs, wrote, “Is it when I wanted to resign from a job that was messing me up and my Chairman said, ‘so, if your husband slaps/beats you, you will leave the marriage and cry to your parents?”
“Seun Babasola, RD of @UnitedCap southern region is a perfect example of #HorribleBosses. My former team lead Chukwuma Mojekwu is a victim of seun’s unprofessional, abusive & manipulative behaviour that he too behaves like him. He abuses staff terribly and uses your personal life to measure your KPIs,” SharonZoe23 wrote.
READ ALSO: Toxic Workplace: Employees of startups to get 35% tax break as Reps pass bill for second reading
Kadaria Ahmed, television host and chief executive officer of RadioNow 95.3FM, who was also accused of not treating her staff well, took to Twitter to apologise.
“Woke up to news that my name was mentioned in the marathon that was #HorribleBosses. A few friends shared the link. I thank them but won’t be listening mostly because I don’t want to close the door to reconciliation with some of those that left us…”
“I am sure some of what was said is true particularly when it comes to my temper. It is bad and I am constantly ashamed of it but I promise I am working on taming it,” she acknowledged.
However, she said outside her temper issues, “no one can say we don’t care. Not only do we fulfil all our statutory obligations we do what we can within the limitations of a small business to make life easier for staff and show we care.”
Chiamaka Okafor is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999