Tony Elumelu is a renowned Nigerian and African entrepreneur, an economist, banker, and investor. He is popularly known as the (retired) chairman of United Bank of Africa, UBA; current chairman of Heirs Holdings, and Transcorp, founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and a true Philanthropist.
Born Tony Onyeamaechi Elumelu, he has been responsible for creating businesses across the continent, in sectors critical to Africa’s economic development.
Tony Elumelu Biography
Tony Elumelu was born March 22, 1963, in Jos, Plateau State and raised by entrepreneur parents. His mother, Suzanne Elumelu, owned restaurants and was a major distributor of the customer chain while his father’s name is Dominic Elumelu.
Although Tony was born in Jos, he hails from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State. He was raised together with his four siblings, one of whom is into politics. Hon Ndudi Elumelu used to be a former member of the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives.
Tony Elumelu acquired an honors degree at both graduate and masters levels in Economics from Ambrose Alli University – initially known as Bendel State University – and Lagos State University respectively.
He proceeded to acquire additional academic exposures from business schools of Harvard, USA; the International Institute of Management Development IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland and Singapore Institute of Management (SIM).
Tony Elumelu is married to Awele Vivien Elumelu, a medical doctor. They got married in 1993, and have seven children; five girls and two boys (twins).
Professional Career and Investments
Tony Elumelu started his career in banking at Union Bank of Nigeria Plc as a Youth Corps member of the Nation Youth Service Corps, in 1985.
Then he achieved a major breakthrough as an African entrepreneur when he led the largest merger in the banking sector in Sub-Sahara Africa to acquire the United Bank for Africa (UBA) – a bank he later transformed into a Pan African institution by attracting more than seven million customers in nineteen African countries.
After he retired from UBA in 2010, Elumelu founded the Heir Holdings – a company that invests in financial services, energy, real estate and hospitality, healthcare sector, and agribusiness.
In 2011, Heir Holdings went ahead to procure a controlling interest in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp).
As a serial investor, Mr. Elumelu was appointed among several leaders in the industry, as the first African member of the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum on September 24, 2012.
This was shortly after he was given a position in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to serve as a Senior Investment Advisor.
He is a Vice-Chairman of the National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN) and Serves as Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Global Food Security.
At the invitation of the Federal Government and the Presidential Jobs Board, Mr. Elumelu chaired at the Ministerial Committee to establish world-class hospitals and diagnostic centers across Nigeria.
Elumelu was one of the co-chairs of the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda from 11–13 May 2016.
Private Jet, Foundation
He founded the Tony Elumelu Foundation; an Africa-based and African-funded philanthropic organization whose focus is to the promote excellence in business leadership and entrepreneurship.
The foundation aim’s to prove that the private sector in Africa can be the primary generator of economic development.
The Nigerian bigshot also has a luxurious jet which he comfortably acquired in 2015. Elumelu’s Flacon 7x is not just a means of transportation but also a place where the businessman works during travels as he’s often seen studying with pen and paper on the plane.
Tony Elumelu’s Books
The Billionaire Philanthropist has written about his philosophies of life and the economic development of Africa for several publications around the globe such as the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times. He is the source of inspiration for a book “How to Excel at Work,” by Bili A. Odum
A testimonial, “The Power of Vision,” which gives an insight into the life and achievements of the business magnate has also been compiled in the course of his retirement as the GMD/CEO at UBA.
As a renowned entrepreneur, Mr. Elumelu has won many awards, including the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON); Africa’s 20 Most Powerful People, by Forbes Magazine; a Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the Africa-America Institute (AAI) Awards; African Business Icon at the 2013 African Business Awards; ESI Most Influential Figures in African Power’ list, 2015; A Lifetime Achievement Award in April 21, 2016, at the 5th edition of the National Council of Employers, General Confederation of Enterprises of Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI) annual forum Academy 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He is also known to be the first African to receive the Dwight D. Eisenhower Global Entrepreneurship Award.
The Jos-born multibillionaire has an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion which he supposedly built from his multiple business channels.
In 2003, Tony Elumelu was granted the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Then In 2009, the late Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’adua asked him to serve on the Presidential Committee on the Global Financial Crisis.
On two occasions, Mr. Elumelu had been listed among Top 10 richest black people in the world and richest people in Nigeria.
1. Elumelu is also an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Programme.
2. His wife, Vivian, is the Chairperson of Avon Healthcare Limited and also the Chief Executive Officer of Avon Medical Services Limited. She oversees the healthcare investments of her husband’s Heirs Holdings.
3. The Nigerian philanthropist’s beautiful wife holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree from the University of Benin.