The financial crisis rocking Thrive Agric has led to the replacement of the agric investment company's chief executive officer, Uka Eje. He was temporally replaced with Adia Sowho, while other positions in Thrive Agric were also replaced with new leads.
While Sowho would be leading Thrive Agric going forward, Eje would occupy the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) in the company. Sowho, according to Thrive Agric, is an expert in building a company from scratch to growth level.
AllNews also gathered that Eje would understudy Sowho while she revives Thrive Agric from its financial challenges which had crippled the company and prevented Thrive Agric from paying its investors since March 2020.
AllNews had reported that Thrive Agric was accused of operating in a Ponzi scheme fashion after the small agric investment company hoarded investors' money, failing to pay a return on investment on the due date. The amount owed to investors is estimated to be worth millions of naira.
The company - which operates a rice farm, poultry, and other farm produce - is said to be conveying false business growth in order to lure unsuspecting individuals to invest in their agric business which is not yielding profit, only to hoard the principal fund and the interests on investment when the time comes to pay up.
Investors have been demanding their money and have issued a 5-day ultimatum, but Thrive Agric said COVID-19 affected its operations and it can't afford to pay investors their principal fund and interest fee until the next one year or two years at most.
Aside from Sowho, Thrive Agric also appointed various persons into positions like chief financial officer, head of risk management, and compliance unit. While speaking about Sowho's appointment, Eje said her experience is needed to allow Thrive Agric survive its financial crisis.
“She is here to guide Thrive Agric through a turnaround exercise so that we survive the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the business. Adia has a lot of experience with building businesses from the ground up and shaping them to operate at scale.
“I asked her to support us, recognising that she has the required expertise to move us past this period successfully. I will be stepping down as CEO for the interim, and assuming the position of COO, where, in addition to the attendant duties of the role, I will be Adia’s understudy,” Eje said.
“We have also appointed a CFO who comes with significant experience in finance. We sorely need this experience as Thrive Agric is financing the agricultural value chain and we need to deepen our capabilities in that area,” it said.
It was also stated that “We have also recognized from this episode, that we did not have strong enough protection against risks. As such, we have hired an experienced hand to head our risk management and compliance.
“We have also gotten additional legal representation, to better protect us and more efficiently manage our commercial agreements. This is such that Thrive Agric is exposed to stronger business relationships and fewer counterparty risks.”