There is a spirit called the spirit of excellence which is associated with every Nigerians irrespective of where we find ourselves anywhere in the world. Despite all the challenges we faced as a nation, we have remained tenacious, resilient and break the norms. Adebayo Ogunlesi may not ring a bell in Nigeria like that of Dangote, Adenuga etc but in the UK, he is an icon, a trailblazer in the aviation industry, he is seen someone who broke the jinx and brought the world’s second largest airport, The Gatwick Airport and also he bought 4 more all in the UK. Ogunlesi is a man who doesn’t believe in making noise or a media freak, he is someone who lets his work speaks for him.
As Nigeria is planning to have its national carrier in December, Nigeria Air, what about we having someone like Adebayo Ogunlesi to help remodel our airport as he was able to transform the Gatwick Airport into a world-class business and tourist airport especially Muritala Muhammed Internation Airport in Lagos.
Here are some facts about him…
Adebayo “Bayo” O. Ogunlesi (born December 20, 1953) is a Nigerian-born lawyer and investment banker. Ogunlesi is currently Chairman and Managing Partner at the private equity firm, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). Ogunlesi was the former head of Global Investment Banking at Credit Suisse First Boston before being promoted to Chief Client Officer and Executive Vice Chairman.
Ogunlesi is from Makun, Sagamu, Ogun State in Nigeria. He is the son of Theophilus O. Ogunlesi, the first Nigerian professor of medicine at the University of Ibadan. His family is of Yoruba origin.
Ogunlesi went to King’s College, Lagos, a secondary school in Lagos, Nigeria. He received a B.A. with first class honors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University in England. In 1979, he received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, which he pursued at the same time. During his time at Harvard, he was on the Harvard Law Review.
From 1980 to 1981, Ogunlesi served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. Ogunlesi was an attorney in the corporate practice group of the New York City law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he had been a summer associate while studying for his M.B.A.
In 1983, Ogunlesi joined the investment bank First Boston as an advisor on a Nigerian gas project. At First Boston, he worked in the Project Finance Group, advising clients on transactions and financings and has worked on transactions in North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. From 1997 to 2002, he was the Head of the Global Energy Group of the by then renamed Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). In 2002, Ogunlesi was appointed Global Head of CSFB’s Investment Banking Division. Also in 2002, he served as a member of Credit Suisse’s Executive Board and Management Committee. From 2004 to 2006, Ogunlesi was Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Client Officer of CSFB.
In July 2006, Ogunlesi started the private equity firm, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a joint venture whose initial investors included Credit Suisse and General Electric. He currently serves as Chairman and Managing Partner.
In 2006, GIP bought London City Airport. In 2009, GIP acquired the majority in London Gatwick Airport in a deal worth £1.455 billion. The Nigerian press has given him the nickname, “The Man Who Bought Gatwick Airport.” GIP also owns Edinburgh Airport, which they bought in 2012. He has a close ties with US president, Donald Trump.
Here is a documentary profiling the Nigerian Man who defied all odds…