Atlas Mara appoints Group CEO
The Board of Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Limited (“Atlas Mara” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce the appointment of John Vitalo as Chief Executive Officer.
John will join Atlas Mara from Barclays PLC where he has held a number of senior managerial positions, including, most recently, as Chief Executive Officer, Middle East and North Africa, a position he has held since May 2009. In the four years prior to that, based in Johannesburg, he was responsible for building and leading Absa Capital, the pan-African investment bank.
As CEO of MENA, John’s responsibilities in the region have included: wealth management, infrastructure, retail and business banking and corporate and investment banking. His experience has been focused on building banks, implementing strong management and risk controls and improving performance and culture.
At Atlas Mara, John will be responsible for directing and executing the Company’s strategy to become Africa’s leading financial services group by providing capital, liquidity and funding to the banking industry in sub-Saharan Africa. He will lead the Group Executive Committee that is comprised of Doug Munatsi, CEO of BancABC and Jyrki Koskelo, Atlas Mara’s Head of Strategy. Their focus is on establishing a strong platform, cultivating best-in-class talent, and introducing leading-edge technology and innovation.
Bob Diamond, Director and Co-Founder of Atlas Mara, said: “I am delighted that John has agreed to become Atlas Mara’s CEO. I have worked with him over many years. He is a business builder, deeply knowledgeable in the critical areas of technology and risk and he is trusted by his colleagues and clients. As we continue to grow and attract more great assets like BRD and BancABC across the continent, his ability to drive synergies and operational efficiencies will be invaluable. I couldn’t imagine a better leader for this group.”
Memorandum of Understanding with Government of Rwanda
Atlas Mara has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with the Government of Rwanda to pursue the privatization of BRD – the commercial arm of the Development Bank of Rwanda. BRD is a forty-six-year-old institution at the forefront of economic development in Rwanda and if completed the transaction would represent Atlas Mara’s first foray into the East African Community, marking Rwanda as a hub for financial services in the region.
Ashish J. Thakkar, Director and Co-Founder, said: “It has been an exciting few weeks for Atlas Mara, having announced our intention to acquire ADC and BancABC, the MoU we signed with the Rwandan government and now, the appointment of John as CEO. As these recent developments show, we are maintaining the momentum and delivering on the vision to build Africa’s premier financial institution. The focus for Bob and me now is to continue to work closely with John, Doug, Jyrki and the team to ensure we continue to deliver on our objectives.”
Notes to Editors
About John Vitalo
John will join Atlas Mara from Barclays PLC where he has been Chief Executive Officer, Middle East & North Africa since May 2009. In this role he has been responsible for all aspects of the company’s activity in the region, including wealth management, retail and business banking, investment and corporate banking and infrastructure. His previous roles at the company included CEO of Absa Capital and COO of Global Markets and COO of Emerging Markets for Barclays Capital.
John joined Barclays in 2002 from Credit Suisse First Boston (“CSFB”), where he had held a number of senior positions in London and New York. These included Director of e-commerce for Emerging Markets, Proprietary Trader for the Emerging Markets Group, Global Head of the Emerging Markets Structured Financing & Repo business and Head of the Emerging Markets Fixed Income Arbitrage Desk.
Prior to CSFB, John worked at Gleacher & Co and Morgan Stanley & Co., in Mergers & Acquisitions and Merchant Banking, respectively. John graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration in Finance and International Management. He has also served in the US Marine Corps.
About Atlas Mara
Atlas Mara was formed by Bob Diamond, Founder of Atlas Merchant Capital LLC and Ashish J Thakkar, Founder of Mara Group Holdings Limited, and listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange in December 2013.
The stated strategy of the Company is that following an acquisition, it will operate the acquired business and implement an operating strategy with a view to generating value for its shareholders through operational improvements as well as potentially through additional complementary acquisitions.
The Directors believe that there are significant gaps in the market today including the need for capital. The retreat of European financial institutions to their home territories due to the sovereign debt crisis and the Basel III regulatory framework has restricted the flow of capital at a critical time for growth in Africa. This situation presents opportunities for Atlas Mara to create a financial institution that provides leadership, liquidity, access to investors, product innovation, and technology to support economic growth and strengthen financial systems in Africa.