A Nigerian business mogul, Oba Otudeko, has emerged the Africa Chief Executive of the Year (2016).
Otudeko, who is the chairman of Honeywell Group, beat seven other finalists, including Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, to clinch the coveted prize at a meeting of more than 800 chief executives across the continent held in Abidjan, the capital of Cote d’Ivoire.
Otudeko and Dangote were the only Nigerians listed among the eight top contenders for the coveted Africa CEO of The Year Award.
Four Nigerian firms–Seplat Petroleum, Dangote Group, Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank–were also on the list of finalists for prizes in the six-category award session of the yearly conference of the Africa CEO Forum. Other categories were African Company of the Year (where Nigeria’s Dangote Group and Seplat are listed), African Bank of the Year (with Zenith Bank among the eight finalists), Private Equity Investor of the Year, International Corporation of the Year and the Young CEO of the Year.
The six prizes were announced in the presence of Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Forum rewards Africa’s best chief executive officers, companies, and investors whose strategies have contributed significantly to the economic growth of the continent.
Set up in partnership with the AfDB, the Africa CEO Forum is an event organised jointly by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specialising in organising economic promotion events.
The organisers of the yearly event yesterday said that Otudeko has, over the years, spurred economic growth in Africa by transforming the business landscape with legacy projects.
Founder and President of the Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, while presenting the award to Otudeko, noted that the prize was conferred on him based on his achievements in the fields of development, governance, strategy, leadership, and financial performance across the operations of his conglomerate.
According to the organisers, Otudeko, in response expressed happiness at the recognition for his contributions to achieving a better Africa. ‘’I see the award as recognition of hard work, commitment and confidence in what is indeed African,” the Honeywell Group chair said, just as he encouraged African CEOs to continue working together to support the continent’s growth dynamics.
Otudeko’s Honeywell Group — which originally started operations as trading concern, importing and marketing baking yeast, stock fish, glass and steel rods, among others, was founded in 1972. The group of companies has now evolved into a diversified enterprise with businesses across major sectors of the Nigeria economy (foods and agro-allied, real estate, infrastructure, energy and services). Through additional portfolio investments, the Group is also a significant provider of capital to other sectors of Nigeria’s economy, including financial services, telecommunications, and security management.
Apart from the Honeywell Group, Otudeko also chairs the First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings Plc. He was, at various times, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria, FBN Bank (UK) Limited, Airtel Nigeria and Fan Milk of Nigeria Plc. He has also served on the boards of Central Bank of Nigeria (1990 – 1997), Guinness Nigeria Plc (1999 – 2003), British American Tobacco Ltd (2001 – 2004) and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, headquartered in the Togolese capital of Lome (2002 – 2010).
Otudeko, a chartered banker and corporate secretary, was the 16th President and Chairman of Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) between September 2006 and August 2009.
He holds the Nigerian National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), awarded him in 2011 by former President Goodluck Jonathan. He was Chancellor of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State from 2001 to 2010 and currently serves as a member of the Office of Distinguished Friends of the London Business School (UK).
Otudeko also promotes the Oba Otudeko Foundation (OOF), a not-for-profit organisation, which he runs as pet project.