Becoming the CEO of a company is by no means an easy task. Especially when the goal is to build or sustain a company that is very robust in capital, human resources and influence. Nigeria is blessed with outstanding business leaders who have made their marks in the business world with enviable achievements. Here are the eleven most celebrated CEOs in Nigeria.
1. Aliko Dangote
Dangote is a household name in Nigeria and Africa at large. He seats atop the Dangote Group – a conglomerate of companies that operate in various sectors of the Nigerian economy – manufacturing, household items, housing, Oil & Gas and so on. His business operations go across the shores of Nigeria and he’s currently the richest black man in the world.
2. Leo-Stan Ekeh
This is a man of many parts. Though a graduate of Economics from Punjab University in India, he has made a name for himself in the world of ICT. He is the Chairman and CEO of Zinox Group. He has played a major role in helping to change the face of ICT business in Nigeria and across the length and breadth of Africa. He is the Africa’s first Global Partner to Microsoft.
3. Olusegun Agbaje
He oversees the affairs of one of the most easily successful banks in Nigeria, GTBank. Agbaje has successfully taken GTB to greater heights since former CEO, Tayo Aderinokun passed away in 2011. He joined GTB as a pioneer staff in 1991 and dedication and commitment has brought him through the ranks to the apex echelon of the bank.
4. Mosunmola Abudu
Popularly known as Mo Abudu, Mo is in the eyes of many regarded as Nigeria’s Oprah Winfrey with her television show ‘Moments with Mo’ and she is the CEO of EbonyLife TV. Though a woman, she has etched a place for herself in a male-dominated world and even the men have come to respect her for it.
5. Florence Seriki
This is another amazon on the list. She operates in the ICT sector and is the brain behind Omatek Ventures Plc, a Nigerian computer manufacturing company known for its dedication to promoting local content in the ICT sector. Though a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), ‘Flo’ has succeeded in making a name for herself and her organisation. The company also has a branch in Ghana.
6. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide
Young, passionate and enthusiastic Michael is the Group CEO and President of Arik Air Ltd, Nigeria and Arik Air international Ltd, UK. He started with Arik as one of its founding board members in 2006 and served in the capacity of Executive Director Corporate Strategy, which has different operational functions in the portfolio. Michael Arumemi-Ikhide is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh.
7. Chidi Okoro
Is the CEO of GlaxoSmithKlime Consumer Nigeria Plc. The first Nigerian to occupy that position since the company was established in 1971. As a former Sales Director, he was credited with helping the company with achieving a fortune turn-around from N9.9 billion in 2007 to about N15 billion by the year 2009. As CEO under whom the company has experienced massive growth, Okoro was awarded the prestigious Most Outstanding CEO of the Year award in 2013. The company has also bagged different awards under his watch.
8. Michael Ikpoki
The first indigenous CEO of MTN Nigeria, the largest telecommunications company in the country. He is generally described as a ‘seasoned business executive’. His academic profile includes; General Management Programme at Harvard Business School; Sales, from INSEAD Business School; Finance and Analytics, from Lagos Business School and LLB from Rivers State University of Science and Technology. Mr. Ikpoki joined MTN as a pioneer staff in 2001 and the company has continued to maintain its lead in the sector under him.
9. Udem Ufot
He is Co-founder and Group Managing Director of SO&U, a leading advertising agency in Nigeria. He is a graduate of Industrial Design from Ahmadu Bello University and started his advertising career as an art director with Desmark Advertising and then to Insight Communications, another big name in the advertising industry. After attending a few courses in Germany he returned to Nigeria with a burning desire to establish his own company and make it the most creative agency in 1990 and 18 months later the agency was named the most creative agency in the country. The company has garnered several other awards since then.
10. Stephen Olabisi Onasanya
This man is the powerhouse behind the first and oldest financial institution in Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria Plc. He took over from former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. He has previously served as Executive Director, Banking Operations and Services. He joined the bank in 1985 and has several managerial positions before taking over from Sanusi Lamido. Under him, First Bank has received several awards. One of which is “The Best Place to Work” and “The Company with the Best Human Resources Structure in Nigeria” in 2013, given by Great Place To Work Nigeria (GPTWN, affiliated to Great Place to Work, San Francisco), a global research, consulting and training institute.
11. Sola David Borha
She is a woman with the posture and status of a man by whatever standard, a strong voice within Nigeria’s corporate corridor. The CEO of Investment Banking & Trust Company Plc (IBTC) joined the outfit in 1994 as Executive Director and rose to the post of CEO having served as deputy Managing Director, Acting Managing Director, IBTC Chartered Bank and later Executive Director for Corporate and Investment Banking.