The group chief executive officer (CEO) of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) is quitting his post after about a year in his role, the UAE’s biggest lender by assets has confirmed. 

André Sayegh, whose appointment was announced in February last year, will be retiring next month after 21 years with the bank, Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, FAB chairman, announced in a bourse filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Wednesday. 

Al Nahyan also said that they are nominating Sayegh to the group’s board of directors, pending the approval of the UAE central bank and the firm’s general assembly. 

“André Sayegh made a major contribution to the bank during his long tenure, culminating in 2020’s resilient performance despite the challenges facing the global banking sector and wider economy,” Al Nahyan said. 

FAB’s net profit for 2020 fell 16 percent to 10.6 billion dirhams ($2.9 billion) on the back of higher impairment charges. 

However, the bank maintained that it continued to showcase its “strength, resilience and adaptability” despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“2020 has been a year like no other, posing extraordinary challenges to the people and economies of the world that have been met with ingenuity, agility and collaboration. I am grateful to the UAE’s leadership for their guidance and decisive action in response to the pandemic, and to our board, management, employees and customers for their support and dedication throughout 2020,” said Al Nahyan. 

“Against the turbulent and uncertain backdrop of 2020, FAB showcased strength, resilience and adaptability while supporting our customers, employees and communities in navigating unprecedented times and focusing on the long-term sustainability of our bank.” 

The FAB’s board of directors has recommended a cash dividend distribution of 74 fils per share for the full year ended December 31, 2020. 

FAB merged with National Bank of Abu Dhabi in 2017, raising the bank's status to become the country's biggest lender by assets.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria) 

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