A panel of inquiry has found the founder and CEO of the Nigeria-based stock investment business, Risevest, Eke Urum, not guilty of sexual misconduct and abuse of power.
TechCabal quoting a member of the panel, Toun Tunde-Anjous, reported that the group advised against Urum’s restoration as Risevest’s CEO.
Instead, Tony Odiba, the current acting CEO, will continue in that position until the newly elected board names the new CEO while Urum will take over as a non-executive member of a new board and direct the startup’s investment strategy in addition to offering technological advice.
The statement read, “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.”
“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,” Urum told TechCabal in response to the findings of the investigation. “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.”
The investigative panel, which was led by Tomi Davies and included Odun Longe and Toun Tunde-Anjous, interviewed over 60 current and former employees over the course of six weeks before coming to a conclusion.
The investigating team also suggested that an immediate board of directors be established, with Urum, Tony Odiba, two investor representatives, and one independent member endorsed by both founder and investor groups. Previously, Risevest lacked a board of directors. The panel decided that the conversion of currently held SAFEs (simple agreements for future equity) into equity should happen after the board is created.
Despite controlling the largest portion of the business, investors at the corporation ordered Urum to step away back in August until the conclusion of a probe by a panel of investigators they had chosen.
“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,” a statement shared with TechCabal then reads.
Urum, however, declared his desire to work with Tony Odiba to make the necessary adjustments to Risevest’s culture so that it is inclusive, safe, and accommodating while also supporting Odiba in his role as interim CEO.
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