Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Passion for Excellence

abena amoah(fin)
Story: Boahene Asamoah

She is the embodiment of passion for excellence, hard work, dedication and commitment. She is also one of the youngest female CEOs in corporate Ghana to have emerged recently.
At 36, Ms Abena Amoah, the Chief Executive officer of Newworld Renaissance, a financial and investment banking firm, an affiliate of one of the world’s leading financial and investment banking firms has chalked a lot of first positions, through her academic and professional life in such a rather ‘ young life’.
Even after barely three months at her new post, she has led the team to transact the single largest transaction in a day in the history of the Ghana stock exchange, involving the transaction of $300 million in ETI shares on the July 25th 2008 trading on the floor of the Ghana Stock exchange.This transaction even surpasses the whole of the 2007 transaction on the Ghana Stock Exchange both in value and volume.
At a tender age of 27, whiles a national service person at Strategic African Securities (SAS), she ‘ cut her teeth ’ in what was then a new term to her, that is, ‘rights issue’ by leading a team that successfully raised $30 million for a rights issue and listing of additional shares of Accra Brewery Limited on the Ghana Stock Exchange. Ever since then, Abena has never looked back.
Abena swept all the awards at the School of Administration, now Ghana Business School, University of Ghana, Legon at the 1999 graduation which coincidentally also marked the 50th anniversary of the school.
She won the ‘Anim Addo Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Business School, the KPMG Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Business School, the Unilever Ghana Limited Award for the Best Graduating Student in Business School and the Volta Hall Alumnae Prize for the Best Graduating Student in Volta.
During her first year at the University, she had already showed great signs of brilliance, winning the Shell Ghana Limited award for the Best First year Student in Business School in 1994.
She was then given a scholarship to study at the University of Denver, Denver Colorado, for two years after which she came back to complete her first degree in Accounting and Finance at the School of Administration.
Before then, Abena emerged as the best Advance level student obtaining three A’s and a B in the Advance Level School examinations at the St Rose’s Secondary School. That also earned her a scholarship for a one-year AFS exchange programme to Iceland in 1992 to study for one year before coming back home to begin her tertiary education.
Indeed not until the ABL transaction was over, seasoned investment bankers she worked with on the deal did not know that Abena was a national service person.
As of today, Abena, has been involved in most of the landmark transactions on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
‘My drive is the satisfaction I derive from seeing a client happy. Being part of raising capital to help businesses grow’, she stated.
That was not all, ever since her 10 years stint with SAS, there is no major financial or major transaction on the stock market that Abena has not participated in.
‘It feels good to do successful transactions’, she stated, recounting with happiness the joy in seeing companies raise capital for their expansion programmes.
Talk about the $65 million rights issue and Listing of Ghana Commercial Bank last year. Abena stated that the GCB case was even peculiar.
‘It performance on the market has slumped’, she stated but due to the hard work Abena and her team did, the shares were oversubscribed by....
SAS were appointed lead managers and Co-sponsoring broker for the Initial Public Offer and listing of Ecobank Ghana Limited worth $10 million. That was also oversubscribed.
She was again involved in the issue and listing of $54 million shares of Total Petroleum Ghana Limited on the GSE as a result of merger of Total and Mobil.
One of her fondest memory was that Guinness Ghana Limited and the Ghana Breweries Limited, saying that that transaction generated a lot of issues and was a complex one. That was also one of the challenging moments in AbenaƤs life.
Abena had to deal as she stated with a lot of stakeholders, but admitted that she learnt a lot on regulation on investments in the country, from both parties, shareholders and issues that had to deal with the structuring of the offer.
‘That deal was a landmark transaction’, she stated.
Other deals included the $10 million Ghana IPO and $700 million listing on TSX and AMEX, where SAS were the financial advisor and sponsoring broker, with Abena leading the deal. That was another success story.
Abena love for her passion was not coincidental. After graduating, she was a ‘hot cake’ for most of the multinational companies because of her academic brilliance. She turned job offers from Unilever and KMPG among many other offers.
Although, she knew little about stock market and investments analysis and rights issues, she turned down many offers to join SAS, then a growing company.
She recounted that a friend introduced Mr James Akpo now Togbe Afedi to her in 1999 and after a two-hour meeting, she was offered a job the next day.
‘I was inspired about the vision and direction of Mr Akpo’, she stated.
Much to the displeasure of her parents, who had hoped Abena would join one the multinational companies, Abena rather choose to start ‘small’ and after ten years, she has achieved a lifetime dream.
‘Everyone thought I was crazy choosing SAS, a relatively young and private company’, she stated.
She remember when she had to work late and the parents had to complain why she was working so late.
For the ten years that she stayed at SAS, she rose quickly from Investments Analyst and broker to become the Executive Director of SAS. She was promoted every eight months due to her hard work and professionalism.
It is no wonder that Renaissance Group, head-hunted Abena to head its operations in Ghana.
Today, she supervises over a group of talented professionals taking major corporate decisions and transactions in the country.
Among her many other accomplishements, she serves as a director of the Venture Capital Trust Fund, Director, the Ghana Stock Exchange, Assessor (capital Market experts), Commission Division of the High Cour of Ghana, Accra, Executive member of the Ghana Securities Industry Association.
Abena was also a Governor of the Millennium Excellence Awards in 2005.
In 2006, Abena was awarded the Newmont Gold Ghana Highest Award for Excellence (National Youth Excellence Awards).
She said it is good news for Renaissance to turn its investments to Ghana especially now that the GSE is presently the best performing market.
Indeed, Abena’s profile is very impressive for such a young lady.
She has served as capital market advisor to the SEC, GSE and even the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning,
Abena has offered business development projects advise especially to the Golden Jubilee Bonds and the Ghana Educational Loans.
Her passion for the growth of the capital markets in the country had led her to host the television programme ‘Investments Digest’ which is being aired on GTV.
But Abena’s life is not all work, she has a soft side. Her first national service in 1994 after Advance level school certificate was at the Princes Maria Louis Hospital, in the heart of Accra has led her to have a kind heart for needy children.
She still find time in spite of her busy schedule to do some charity work for the hospital and describes herself as Ghanaian, refusing to be associated with any tribe in the country.
She has been involved in touring some senior secondary schools in the country to educate them on investments.
Abena is the first born of five children born to Mr and Mrs David Amoah, which is made up of four female and one male.
Having gone through such an elaborate professional training and carrier challenging jobs, is it any wonder that Abena is a success in today’s corporate Ghana. She is certainly a role model worthy of emulating.


The Evangelist said...

Hey there!

You have an interesting blog!

I am in the final stages of my trip planning so that I can come to Accra! I plan to live there for a year and start a tiny nonprofit organization that will serve as a nucleus for the churches in the U.S. that are interested in investing in missions in Ghana.

I hope to train the American missions teams when they arrive in Ghana and to locate places where they can offer to serve our Lord!

I look forward to reaching out to you in email.

Right now, I am in the process of looking for a host family in Accra, Ghana who would like a woman minister in their household for one to three months before I strike out on my own.

I think that staying with a host family will make the transition easier and will also allow me to share with the family! If your church has any host families who would like to interact with an American clergywoman, I hope you will feel welcome to contact me by email.

Keep writing more! It's great!

(yes, a woman who is nicknamed "Paul"!! *smiles*)

Angela Azumah Alu said...

wow! that's my role model!

Anonymous said...

She certainly sounds like a force...It is great to hear that somebody, a woman no less, can achieve such great things at a relatively young age....she has definitely become my inspiration as I start my professional career, fresh out of university..thanks for the interesting blog.

Unknown said...

Abena's story is worth reading. Very inspirational and forward looking.