Friday, February 19, 2016 7:53 pm
Pan-African lender Ecobank has reached a settlement with its former chief executive Thierry Tanoh to end a long-running legal dispute, the company said on Friday.
The agreement brings to a close lawsuits viewed as a test for individuals bringing cases against corporations that operate in multiple jurisdictions in Africa and which also exposed corporate legal risks for such companies.
Ecobank executives said they had followed correct legal procedure in Tanoh’s case.
“This is the end of the matter. Final. We are about the business of banking. It’s good to move on,” said Richard Uku, spokesman for Ecobank Transnational Incorporated. He gave no details of the settlement.
Tanoh was named Ecobank’s CEO in 2013 after moving from the International Finance Corporation where he was a vice president.
The board fired him in March 2014 after allegations of corporate impropriety and a bitter governance dispute that caused divisions at the top of the bank.
Tanoh sued for unfair dismissal in Togo and in Ivory Coast on the grounds that a letter published during the dispute by an Ecobank board member, the head of South Africa-based Public Investment Corporation, had sullied his reputation.
His supporters said Tanoh had been made a scapegoat for governance matters that predated his tenure.
Tanoh is now the deputy secretary-general of economic affairs and finance in the government of Ivory Coast where he is a citizen. He did not respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Last year, a court in Togo awarded Tanoh $11.6 million in a wrongful dismissal suit. Another tribunal in Ivory Coast granted him $15 million in the defamation case. In both cases, Ecobank said it would appeal.
The lender is one of the most important in Africa and is a dominant force in Togo’s capital city of Lome, where it is headquartered. It has a presence in 35 countries and more than $23 billion in assets as of June 2015, according to its website.