Eke Urum, former Risevest CEO found guilty of sexual impropriety, to be replaced by acting CEO, Tony Odiba

Godfrey Elimian
It took the investigative panel six weeks to reach a conclusion.
Risevest former CEO, Eke Urum, dismissed
Risevest former CEO, Eke Urum

Embattled founder and former CEO of fintech startup Risevest, Eke Urum, has been found guilty of sexual impropriety, abuse of power and workplace bullying following a six-week investigation into complaints of sexual abuse levelled at him.

This is coming after he was earlier asked to step aside from his role to allow for investigations into these allegations. Consequently, the panel in a statement has disclosed that the evidence presented couldn’t prove sexual abuse, but Urum was found guilty of sexual impropriety, bullying, and abuse of power amongst others.

“The evidence presented to the panel could not prove sexual assault by Eke Urum. However, the evidence presented to the panel including admitted sexual relations with an employee and unwanted, inappropriate jokes and conversations revealed sexual impropriety. It also showed a pattern of abuse of power, intimidation, retaliation and workplace bullying by him,” the statement reads.

Panel’s decision on embattled Risevest former CEO

Following the panel’s findings, A member of the investigation panel, Toun Tunde-Anjous shared that the panel recommended that Urum will not be reinstated, but remain frozen out as Risevest’s CEO.

Tony Odiba, the acting CEO who replaced the founder in an acting capacity, will stay on in that capacity until a newly constituted board appoints a new CEO.

Also, as a result, Urum will move into a non-executive member role of the new board and will lead the startup’s investment strategy and provide guidance on technology.

In his response, the former CEO has accepted the judgement and recommendations of the panel. He also stated his willingness to learn from all that has happened and seek proper guidance. He said:

“As a leader, I have grown a lot over the years and still have a lot of growing to do, which is why I’m going to be taking additional coaching and executive training. “I regret the distraction that my actions may have caused and fully respect the integrity of the process the Risevest investors and the panel underwent to identify the gaps in our systems and my leadership.” 

Eke Urum, former CEO of Risevest

Urum also stated his intention to support Tony Odiba to make the necessary adjustments to Risevest’s culture in order to keep it inclusive, secure, and welcoming.

Risevest former CEO, Eke Urum
Eke Urum, Risevest’s former CEO

Read also: Risevest assures customers of funds safety despite court order freezing its account

It took the investigative panel, comprised of Odun Longe and Toun Tunde-Anjous, and chaired by Tomi Davies, speaking with almost 60 current and former employees, six weeks to reach a conclusion. 

As part of the recommendations of the investigation panel, a Board of Directors comprised of Urum, Tony Odiba, two investor representatives, and one independent member approved by both founder and investor groups, is to be immediately constituted.

Risevest does not previously have a BoT.

The panel called that after the board is formed, the conversion of currently-held (simple agreement for future equity) SAFEs into equity should take place. 

Back in August, Urum was asked to step aside by investors at the company, despite owning the largest part of the company, until the end of the investigation by panel members appointed by the investors.

“Following allegations of sexual and non-sexual impropriety from someone who can be reasonably expected to have knowledge of such, investors of Risevest have asked Eke Urum to step aside from his role as founder and CEO and an independent investigation is ongoing,”the statement read.

Read also: Google to host its first African cloud region in South Africa. Gives report on $1bn fund

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