It has been reported that co-founder and CEO of Nigerian startup, Risevest, Eke Urum, has been advised to step down from the position he occupies in the company. The advice comes from an investigative panel set up by the startup’s investors.
This action was reportedly made known through an official statement by the organization, dated August 19, 2022. The statement revealed that Eke has been alleged to have been involved in both sexual and non-sexual misconduct while occupying the position of the company’s CEO.
Part of the statement reads “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.”
Following Eke’s step down, co-founder and Head of Operations, Tony Odiba, is said to take over as CEO while investigations on the allegations are being conducted.
To unravel the truth in the case, A three-man panel has been formed to implement an independent investigation in other to substantiate the allegations. The raised panel is reckoned to be called for by several accusations of harassment that might have been raised against the founder.
Although Eke Urum has agreed to step down from his position, the investigation panel is said to collate testimonies from current and ex-employees hoping to get clarity from the dispositions.
It will be recalled that last year (2021) there were non-sexual accusations raised against Eke which were tantamount to workplace misconduct. This accusation was raised when he had a dispute with former Head of Marketing, Efe Uduigwomen. Efe had made claims that the working environment at Risevest was unhealthy.
Reportedly, Eke was informed about the steps taken by the investors earlier in the month of August, “I was told on the evening of August 1 by investors that someone reached out that there were allegations of bullying, sexual harassment, and intimidation,” he further said, “They didn’t say by whom, but I was told to step aside so an independent panel could carry out an investigation,” he said
He was said to have stepped down two days later.
However, the startup’s investors in the statement endeavoured to alleviate any fear related to the misappropriation of funds that might surface when investment platforms appear to be in the news for erroneous reasons.
The rest of the released statement reads, “Risevest’s investors strongly oppose any form of harassment and impropriety and will carry out extensive measures to investigate all allegations,”
It further states, “To this end, the panel is allowing for a period of time for former employees of Risevest to share information that may assist with the investigation, whilst simultaneously speaking with current employees of Risevest.”