Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Mission Accomplished

Anteneh Assefa, the vice president of Bank of Abyssinia (BoA), will succeed Eleni Z. Gabre-Medhin (PhD), founder and the first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), as of the coming Ethiopian New Year.
The current CEO, who founded and served the modern electronic market since April 2008, said that she will write a book about her experience in the exchange.
Sources said that a Hollywood based company is negotiating with her to make a feature film about her achievements.  She will also become a senior fellow at New York University and will teach classes about commodity exchange to graduate students at the university once a year. 
At a press conference, held on Thursday June 21, Dr Eleni said that other internationally recruited managers will be replaced by locally appointed professionals.
“The transition is the outcome of the succession plan carefully implemented since May 2010 to ensure the smooth handover from a team of internationally recruited management professionals who have designed, implemented, and managed the day to day operations of the exchange since its establishment,” the exchange statement stated. “Until mid 2011 four of out of nine management staff were replaced by locally recruited professionals,” the soon to be retired CEO explained.
When the exchange was formed in 2008, internationally based professionals (most of them Ethiopian Diaspora) were appointed based on their experience in the modern market system.
According to the initial plan of ECX, these people were expected to be replaced by local professionals within three to five years after their appointment.
Dr. Eleni said that this transition is part of the initial plan. “The other four internationally recruited management staff will be replaced by local professionals before mid 2013,” she said.
The exchange statement indicated that according to the plan, a recruited, highly capable team which has been with ECX since the start of the operation will take over senior management positions starting July 2012.
The outgoing team will remain as advisors to ensure a seamless transfer of duties and the successful completion of ongoing initiatives.
Dr. Eleni said that she and her team did the though job and the incoming team will only focus on the operation of the exchange. She hoped that the new team will excell in promoting the operations of the modern market system. “We educated people to know about the benefits of the exchange market, that was the hardest job. After now the new team will only focus on operation, adding different commodities to the exchange“ Eleni told Capital.
According to the CEO, the head hunting for the incoming CEO, over a period of five months, was led by a committee appointed from within the ECX board of directors including Dr Debretsion Gebre-Michael, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Beyene Gebre-Meskel, Director General of Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency, Abdullah Bagersh, General Manager of SA Bagersh and Dr Eleni.   
Dr Eleni and ECX have received international recognitions through her effort and the operation of the exchange.  The CEO and founder has also been guest of presidents, high government and international leaders to speak and share her institute’s experience to the rest of the world.
Over 18 African and South Asian countries have visited and expressed interest in the ECX model and engaged in technical advisory relationships. 
The exchange, which is the first of its kind for the continent, has received attention from other African countries that hope to implement the blueprint of ECX in their countries. Taking ECX as a benchmark of modern trading system, some African countries have already implemented the commodity exchange market for their agricultural product trading.
The Ethiopian exchange has also organized two continental events to share experience with other African countries and to form continental exchange associations, which will able to facilitate conditions to undertake continental base trading.
ECX is a new initiative for Ethiopia and the first of its kind in Africa. The vision of ECX is to revolutionize Ethiopia’s tradition bound agriculture through creating a new marketplace that serves all market actors, from farmers to traders to processors to exporters to consumers.
Dr Eleni has had many years of experience working on agricultural markets particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and has held senior positions at the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute and United Nations. She has a PhD in Applied Economics from Stanford University, and Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Economics from Cornell University and Michigan State University respectively.
Anteneh, whose age is in the late 30’s, held his first degree in management from Addis Ababa University (AAU) and   did his second degree in corporate management and finance from Sorbonne in Paris.
Anteneh has 15 years of experience in the banking sector, starting from the position of graduate trainee at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE). After working for eight years at CBE, he moved to the Bank of Abyssinia, as board secretary. He then became vice president, a position he held for six years. He was also served the private bank as acting president.