Arunma Oteh is of Nigerian-British national. She hails from Abia State. She studied at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, earning a first class honors degree in Computer Science. She went on to the Harvard Business School where she obtained a master’s degree in Business Administration. She co-edited the book, African Voices, African Visions. In addition, Oteh, OON (Officer of the Order of the Niger), is the Treasurer and a Vice President at the World Bank. She became the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Nigeria in January 2010. In this position she was responsible for regulation of Nigeria’s capital markets, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In July 2015, after her tenure in the SEC, she was appointed the vice president and treasurer of the World Bank.
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Oteh worked for various institutions including the Harvard Institute for International Development and Centre Point Investments Limited of Nigeria in corporate finance, consulting, teaching and research. She joined the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 1992. Oteh was a Senior Investment Officer/Senior Capital Markets Officer from 1993 to 1997, then Division Manager Investments and Trading Room from 1997 to 2001 when she was appointed the Bank’s Group Treasurer responsible for fund raising and investments in major international capital markets. Oteh was appointed Vice-President for Corporate Management at the AfDB in March 2006, responsible for Language Services, General Services and Procurement, Human Resources, and Information Management and Methods.
- SEC Director General, 2009–2015
Oteh was nominated as the Director-General of the Securities & Exchange Commission by President Umaru Yar’Adua in July 2009. She became Director General of the SEC in January 2010, after being confirmed by the Senate.
In a June 2010 interview with the BBC, Oteh listed “wash sales, market rigging, pumping and dumping shares” as some of the abuses in Nigeria’s capital market. She said the SEC expected to charge about 200 individuals and entities in civil or criminal cases. She faced resistance from the powerful Nigerian rent-seeking elite but expressed confidence due to the backing she had received from President Goodluck Jonathan. In August 2010, as a result of some of the identified market abuse issues, the Securities and Exchange Commission removed the leadership of the Nigerian stock exchange. She was, however, able to serve at the Security and Exchange Commission till 2015, despite the tumultuous nature of the tenure.
- World Bank, 2015–2018
In July 2015, Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank appointed Arunma Oteh, Vice President and Treasurer of the institution. In that capacity, she managed the organization’s US$200 billion debt portfolio, as well as an asset portfolio of almost US$200bn for the World Bank Group and 65 external clients, including central banks, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.
In late 2018, Oteh left the World Bank to join St Antony’s College, Oxford University, as an academic scholar and an executive-in-residence at Saïd Business School. Oteh was recognised in the 2020 Powerlist, of the most influential people in the UK from African/African-Carribean heritage.
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In 2011, Oteh was made an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in “recognition of her contribution to economic development and to transforming the Nigerian capital markets”. In the same year, she received the “Distinction In Public Service” award from the Commonwealth Business Council/African Business. In 2014, Oteh won the CNBC Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) Business Woman of the Year category for West Africa.
Also, she has been a Non-Executive Member of the Board of Directors of Ecobank since 2019.
She also co-authored ‘African voices, African visions’ with Olugbenga Adesida in 2004. A publication of the Nordic Africa Institute.
Featured image source: HBS Alumni
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