Nigerian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Femi Otedola has been appointed as the chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc (FBN Holdings), the country’s first financial services group.
The announcement, a groundbreaking development for Nigeria’s financial sector, made public this evening via a notification on the Nigerian Exchange, comes nearly eight months after Otedola’s initial appointment as a non-executive director on the board.
The decision to elevate Otedola to the position of chairman was reached during a board meeting held today, Jan. 31, 2024. He will succeed the outgoing chairman, Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi, bringing to the role a wealth of experience and a transformative leadership track record across various industries.
Otedola, known for his visionary approach to entrepreneurship, joined the FBN Holdings board on Aug. 15, 2023. His appointment as chairman underscores his ability to pioneer businesses and drive growth, evident in his leadership at Geregu Power, one of Africa’s fastest-growing power-generating companies.
His business interest extends beyond the power sector. Earlier this month, he made headlines with a significant investment in Dangote Cement, Africa’s leading cement manufacturer, reflecting his confidence in the company’s potential to contribute to Nigeria’s economic resilience. This move follows Otedola’s notable return to the Forbes Billionaire list, boasting a fortune of $1.3 billion.
Otedola’s contributions to the Nigerian economy go beyond his business ventures. He has held various board memberships and leadership positions, including serving as the president of the Nigerian Chamber of Shipping and chairman of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Additionally, he actively participated in national economic management initiatives, serving on the National Economic Management Team chaired by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
The renowned businessman’s philanthropic efforts have also garnered attention. In a recent gesture, he donated N1 billion ($1.13 million) to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund, addressing urgent security concerns in Lagos. This substantial contribution, part of Otedola’s ongoing philanthropic endeavors, aims to enhance security initiatives in the state.
Otedola’s commitment to education is evident through a N750-million ($1 million) donation to Augustine University in Ilara-Epe, Lagos State, where he serves as the chancellor. The scholarship fund covers the tuition fees of 750 students for the 2023-2024 academic session, reflecting his dedication to philanthropy, particularly in the education sector, through initiatives such as the Sir Michael Otedola Scholarship Awards Foundation.
As vice president of Save the Children, a UK-based charity group, Otedola’s philanthropic efforts extend beyond Nigeria, highlighting his commitment to making a positive impact on a global scale. His appointment as chairman of FBN Holdings marks a significant chapter in his career, symbolizing a continued commitment to leadership, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy.