• Thursday, November 30, 2023
businessday logo


Sarah Essien, Chief Operating Officer, VerifyMe Nigeria

Sarah Essien, Chief Operating Officer, VerifyMe Nigeria

Sarah started her career at HSBC Bank as a premier and wealth associate, before being moved to the bank’s headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, where she was elevated to the position of Financial Analyst. In her new role as COO, she is responsible for consolidating the financial position of the firm and preparing the external financial reports including the annual report and accounts.

A finance, business strategy and projects specialist holding an MSc in Accounting and Financial Management from the University of London, Sarah has made significant impact in almost two decades, successfully working for high profile organisations across diverse industries including Banking, Insurance, Oil and Gas and Telecommunications.

After six years at HSBC, Sarah was offered the opportunity to be part of the separation of RBS Insurance from the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Her role, as the first finance business partner hired for the CIO function, was to set up the function including designing and embedding the processes. She also led the separation accounting for the transitional service agreement and was the project accountant on a number of critical technology projects.

Read also: IWD 2022: Female directors charged to stop impact of imposter syndrome on women

Several years later, after success in several leadership roles in other industries, Sarah decided to go back to banking. Following a conversation with one of the HR leaders at Morgan Stanley during a seminar, she was selected for an Operations Director role within the Shared Services and Banking Operations (SSBO) for the Bank with a portfolio focused on Special Projects, Strategy and Finance. In this role, Sarah worked closely with Sophie Chandauka MBE – Global COO of SSBO at Morgan Stanley, Co-founder of the Black British Business Awards and former trustee of Prince Harry’s Sentebale charity. Working within a high impact team, she was able to support the Managing Directors of the SSBO division and lead key strategic and confidential projects driving transformational change within the organisation.

In 2020, Sarah became keen to take her experience and expertise to Africa in order to contribute to the future of the continent and specifically Nigeria. This led to her taking a role as an International Project Manager on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development (FCDO) funded UK Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (UKNIAF) focused on partnering with Nigerian ministries, departments and agencies to develop better infrastructure in the energy, roads and infrastructure financing sectors.

Sarah is passionate about start-ups and supports a number of start-ups as an investor and also by providing advice on finance, strategy, corporate governance and operational excellence.