by Admin

As you read this, Mr. Fola Adeola, the founder of GTBank Plc is in a happy mood. He just turned 70 and had an open house reception to mark the milestone.

In both online and in print media, there have been congratulatory messages sent to him  to celebrate his birthday. He is a popular banker and businessman. He is also an entrepreneur and a philanthropist who has touched so many lives. He has also been a mentor to so many young people who have today become big players in Corporate Nigeria. Many have passed through him. Generations have learnt a lot from him.

Lets tell you a lot more about this brilliant man who has done well for himself in banking and who has continued to play big in that industry. He is involved in LOTUS Bank, as an investor.

Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola is not only a businessman, he is also an investor who has invested in so many businesses in Corporate Nigeria. He is the Founder of Guaranty Trust Bank, now GTBank Plc, which has remained one of Nigeria’s biggest banks. He is a member of the Commission for Africa, as well as Founder and Chairman of the FATE Foundation.

His past prepared him for the huge success he made of his life. Fola Adeola completed his secondary school education at Methodist Boys High School, Lagos. He obtained a Diploma in Accounting from Yaba College of Technology in 1975 and became a Chartered Accountant in 1980 following his training with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and D.O. Dafinone & Company (both Chartered Accountants). Over the years he has received professional development training at notable institutions worldwide, including Harvard Business School, INSEAD, and the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.

In 1999, he completed a one-year sabbatical at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos, Nigeria, where he carried out research on economic development and job creation policies.

It was that 1 year break that made him realise that Guaranty Trust Bank had become a solid brand because the team that ran the bank then, performed better than the figures he recorded the previous year, before he left.

He knew the bank could run without him on ground and he began to look out for other investments.

In 1990, he (together with Tayo Aderinokun) established Guaranty Trust Bank, which he served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer from 1990 to July 2002. The bank has since expanded beyond Nigeria to other neighbouring African countries like the Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia and in United Kingdom. The bank became listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1996.

In 2002, Adeola voluntarily retired from Guaranty Trust Bank, after 12 years, handing over to his Deputy, Tayo Aderinokun. Since then he has served as the Chairman UTC, ARM, Lotus Capital, Eterna Oil, CardinalStone Partners Limited, Tafsan Breweries (board member), and Credit Registry Services.

He is also the Chairman of Main One Cable Company Limited, which completed the construction of an open access submarine cable system that spanned 14,000 kilometres and provides international and internet connectivity to countries on the Atlantic Coast from Portugal to Lagos in 2010.

Adeola served as Chairman of the National Pension Commission,following the promulgation into law of the Pension Bill (principally authored by him), by the National Assembly of Nigeria. He chaired the Lagos State Disaster Relief Committee which was set up following the 27 January 2002 Lagos armoury explosion. He was the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) serving as running mate to former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Chairman (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu in the 2011 presidential elections.

Adeola was also a member of the National Honours and Awards Committee and was appointed a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University in November 2004. He served as a member of the Solid Minerals Committee (constituted by the Federal Government) and was the Chairman of Ogun State Development Trust Fund Committee. He was a council member of Lagos State University and until 17 January 2011 served as a Council Member Olabisi Onabanjo University.

Adeola established the FATE Foundation in 2000. FATE is a non-governmental organisation which aims to encourage entrepreneurship, using a mix of training, mentoring, loan support and consulting to support young Nigerians. To date it has served over 30,000 young Nigerian entrepreneurs, of which over 65% are fully employed by their businesses and are employing on average about four staff.

FATE opened an innovation centre in Abeokuta, the Institute for Venture Design, in collaboration with the Centre for Design Research at Stanford University, which runs an entrepreneurship program focused on engineering, technology, and innovation, and which aims to promote development of industry in Nigeria.

Adeola served as a member of the Global Advisory Committee on Philanthropy of the World Economic Forum for four years. In 2001, he was invited to join 24 other business leaders for the Aspen Institute ISIB Annual Business Leaders Dialogue in Aspen, Colorado. In May 2004, he was appointed Commissioner on the Commission for Africa by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

He was a Council Member, and is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria; Fellow of the Institute of Directors of Nigeria.

He was nationally decorated as Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in December 2002 by President Olusegun Obasanjo. He has an honorary doctorate from Nkumba University, Ntebbe, Uganda. Banker of the Decade in 2009 by the Vanguard Newspaper group. Distinguished Famous Alumni award by Yaba Tech. Zik Leadership in 2003. ThisDay Awards 2011 – Change Makers in Social Entrepreneurship.

Adeola is happily married to an accomplished woman, Hajara, who is the FOUNDER and CHAIRPERSON of LOTUS Bank Limited.  She is also the Founder and Managing Director of Lotus Capital Limited, a Nigerian pioneer in Shari’ah compliant Asset Management, Private Wealth Management Advisory Services and Financial Advisory Services.

Prior to founding Lotus Capital, she was the Director, CCT Islamic Finance at UBS Warburg heading their London Islamic Finance Desk. Prior to joining UBS, she was a Convertible Bond Research Analyst at BNP Paribas, London.

She is a seasoned professional with 25 years of international experience in research & analysis, investment management, Corporate Finance and Islamic Finance.

She holds a B.Sc. in Pharmacology from King’s College, London, an M.Sc. in Finance from Durham University where she specialized in Islamic Finance and an MBA in International Management from Exeter University, UK.

Mrs. Adeola was the first President of the Fund Manager’s Association of Nigeria and is a West African Fellow of the Aspen Leadership Initiative.  She is also the Chairperson of the Securities & Exchange Commission’s non-interest capital market 10-year master plan committee and a Director at The Aliko Dangote Foundation.

Not only does Fola Adeola and his wife Hajara play big in banking, some of his brothers are also into banking, at top levels.


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