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Guinness Nigeria Announces Board Changes, Appoints Omobola Johnson As First Female Board Chair

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Guinness Nigeria outgoing Board Chair, Mr. Babatunde Savage and incoming Board Chair, Dr. Omobola Johnson (Source: Guinness Nigeria)

Guinness Nigeria announces the notice of retirement of its long-serving and indefatigable Board Chair, Mr. Babatunde Savage by June 30, 2021. The Company is also pleased to announce arrangements for pioneer Nigerian Minister of Communication & Technology and serving Guinness Nigeria Board member, Dr. Omobola Johnson to be appointed and assume the role of Board Chair with effect from 1st July 2021.

In his letter notifying the Board of his retirement in compliance with applicable Corporate Governance regulations, Mr. Savage expressed his pleasure at the opportunity to have been a part of the wonderful Guinness Nigeria story over the last four decades. He also thanked the Board of Guinness Nigeria and Diageo UK for the opportunity to have served in many capacities, first as an employee who held various strategic senior roles, then as an Executive Director and later the Chair of the Board, a role he has held for twelve eventful and progressive years. He also noted his unwavering support for Guinness Nigeria, Diageo, and its iconic brands. “After almost 40 amazing years, like every good thing, my journey with Guinness Nigeria is coming to an end and this is my time to exit this stage. I feel so proud of my association with this wonderful company with such rich heritage that constantly reminds you that you are standing on the shoulders of giants. Guinness Nigeria is and will always be family to me”, he said.

Babatunde Savage was appointed Chair of the Board in 2009 after working within the organization in a wide variety of executive roles including Company Treasurer, Director of Finance, Director of Corporate Planning, Company Secretary, Corporate Affairs Director, and Deputy Managing Director. With nearly 40 years of service to the organization, Savage’s journey in Guinness Nigeria has been remarkable, navigating so many challenges in different capacities and delivery many wins and successes for the organization.

The Vice-Chair of the Board and President, Diageo Africa, Mr. John O’Keeffe, thanked Mr. Savage profoundly on behalf of the Board of Diageo Plc., the parent company, for his invaluable contributions to the success of the Guinness Nigeria over the last forty years.

Also speaking on the retirement of Mr. Babatunde Savage, the Managing Director, Baker Magunda said I must express my sincere thanks to Mr. Savage for his invaluable contribution to the Board since his appointment as Board Chair in 2009 particularly also in my own time as managing director, and his unwavering commitment to the success of the Company since he joined Guinness Nigeria in 1983On behalf of the Board and Management, I wish Mr. Savage the very best.”

On the appointment of Dr. Omobola Johnson as Savage’s successor, Mr. O’Keeffe who is also the chair of the Nominations, Governance & Remunerations Committee of the Board said, “We are pleased to have Dr. Johnson as our in-coming Board Chair, especially because of the value and insight she has brought since her appointment as an Independent Non-Executive Director, and more recently as the chair of the Finance, Audit & Risk Committee of the Board and member of the Nomination, Governance and Remunerations Committee in the last three years. This is truly an exciting time, in Guinness Nigeria’s 71st year, as we continue to build deeper relationships with our stakeholders and fulfill our purpose of helping people celebrate life everyday, everywhere This, with a truly diverse and inclusive Board, Management and workforce, skills and capabilities to reflect our broad consumer base.”

The outgoing Board Chair, Mr. Savage added, “Dr. Omobola Johnson as incoming Board Chair perfectly complements the Board of Guinness Nigeria because of her unmatched skills and experience, and I am confident she will continue to provide the right leadership and valuable perspectives to enable the company sustain the execution of its unique strategy, drive profitability and enhance value for all stakeholders”, he added.

Dr. Johnson is currently a serving member of the Guinness Nigeria Board has over 30 years experience in both the private and public sectors of the Nigerian economy.  Commenting on her appointment, the former Country Managing Director for Accenture and now senior partner at TLCom Capital, a technology venture capital firm focused on Africa, said “Guinness Nigeria is an excellent company with tremendous value creation opportunities, and I believe the refreshed Board and the Management Team will remain committed to carrying on the excellent tradition of the Company led by Mr. Savage in achieving outstanding performance and maximizing shareholder value.”

Dr. Johnson will resume as Guinness Nigeria Plc.’s Board Chair on 1st July 2021 and the appropriate notification of her appointment as well as Mr. Savage’s retirement will be filed with relevant regulatory authorities as required by extant regulations.

Guinness Nigeria

 

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Press Release

Emil Ekiyor Named In “Indiana 250” Most Influential List

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Emil Ekiyor, Founder at InnoPower (Image: Supplied).

IBJ Media has named Emil Ekiyor, one of Africans in the Diaspora leading accomplished community leader and entrepreneur, in the 2024 Indiana 250, the annual list of the 250 most influential leaders in Indiana. The Indiana 250 Most Influential List, now in its third year, recognises the state’s most influential and impactful business and community leaders, representing public and private companies, law firms, universities, not-for-profit, government and community organizations. Mr Ekiyor, is recognised for his accomplishment as a community leader and entrepreneur dedicated to empowering African and African American communities. The list is available at Indiana250.com.  

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Born in Nigeria, Emil embarked on an educational journey to the United States at age 15. He excelled academically and athletically in high school, earning a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida. As a college football team captain, Emil demonstrated stellar leadership and strategic skills. He went on to have a six-year professional football career with the Tampa Bay Bucs, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Upon retiring from the NFL, Emil transitioned into entrepreneurship and community leadership roles.

Emil currently serves as CEO of InnoPower Indy Inc., driving innovative community empowerment programs. He has also served as President of the Indianapolis Black Expo Indy chapter and Indy Youth Sports, while serving on nonprofit boards like Friends of Education, Teach for America Indy and the Boys Scouts of America.

With a commitment to advancing black talent and closing wealth gaps, Emil brings collaboration, innovation and courage to his community leadership. He continues to create sustainable change as a beacon of hope for African and African American communities.

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Press Release

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy to Showcase I-PHILANTHROPY Platform at 2024 IMBW @ RALLY

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Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) Chairperson, Thelma Ekiyor Solanke (Image: Supplied).

The Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO) is set to introduce its groundbreaking I-PHILANTHROPY platform at a high-profile roundtable discussion during the 2024 innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, taking place on August 27-28 in Indianapolis. This landmark event, hosted by NPO Chairperson Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke, will explore innovative solutions for creating access to capital in disenfranchised communities.

I-PHILANTHROPY is a cutting-edge digital solution that leverages technology to support Nigerian small business owners and create unprecedented access to capital for micro-enterprises. The platform’s success in Nigeria offers a promising model for addressing similar challenges faced by underserved communities in the United States.

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“I-PHILANTHROPY represents a paradigm shift in financial inclusion and support for micro-enterprises,” said Honorable Thelma Ekiyor Solanke. “We’re excited to share our experiences at innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY and explore how this model can be adapted to empower disenfranchised communities in the USA.”

The roundtable will discuss:

– I-PHILANTHROPY’s impact on capital access for Nigerian micro-businesses.

– Potential applications of the model in US minority communities.

– Strategies for engaging diaspora and global participants in local economic development.

– Opportunities for international collaboration in supporting grassroots entrepreneurship.

This showcase is a highlight of innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY, a premier event that combines innoPower’s focus on empowering minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovative solutions to global challenges. The conference brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

“The I-PHILANTHROPY platform aligns perfectly with our mission to foster growth and success among minority-owned businesses,” said Emil Ekiyor, Founder at innoPower. “This roundtable offers a unique opportunity to learn from international best practices and explore new strategies for addressing capital access challenges in our communities.”

Erica Schweyer, Executioner at RALLY, added, “By bringing together diverse voices from technology, business, and philanthropy, we aim to catalyze transformative ideas that can have real-world impact on disenfranchised communities both in the US and globally.”

 

Sign up for the Roundtable and receive a 88% discount https://innopower.formstack.com/forms/imbwdiscount

 

About Nigeria Office for Philanthropy (NPO):

NPO is at the forefront of leveraging technology for social good in Nigeria. Their I-PHILANTHROPY platform is revolutionizing how global participants can support Nigerian micro-enterprises and contribute to local economic development.

About innoPower Minority Business Week @ RALLY:

This collaborative event combines innoPower’s focus on fostering growth and success among minority-owned businesses with RALLY’s emphasis on innovation and transformative ideas. It brings together entrepreneurs, investors, community leaders, and innovators to share knowledge, build networks, and drive economic empowerment.

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Press Release

Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank to fund underserved MSMEs in Nigeria

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Swedfund invests USD 30 million in Access Bank Nigeria Plc to reach underserved MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) at scale. By providing long-term capital and capacity building to unbanked and under-banked companies in Nigeria, the investment is expected to support sustainable private sector development and inclusive growth.

Nigeria, with a population of 230 million, has an unemployment rate at a staggering 33%. Additionally, over half of the rapidly growing population is below the age of 30, which further exacerbates the need for job creation and workforce development. As Nigeria also copes with a multitude of crises, including insecurity, food shortages and inflation, the resilience and power of MSMEs is critical to driving sustainable development and reducing poverty.

Swedfund’s investment aids in advancing sustainable private sector development, encouraging inclusive growth, and expanding access to finance. Access Bank, known for its strong market presence and with a committed MSME strategy, serves as an effective partner to reach MSMEs in need of financing in Nigeria, says Kitanha Toure, Regional Director of West Africa at Swedfund.

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Access Bank is systemically important and well-positioned to reach a significant number of MSMEs in Nigeria. Swedfund’s investment will contribute to direct and indirect job creation and other tax-generating activities as well as improved access to finance for rural and underserved groups, female- and youth-owned companies.

Access Bank is eligible to meet the 2X Criteria, a global baseline standard for gender finance, and recognised as the best SME bank for women entrepreneurs in Africa.

The loan is part of a syndicate led by the Dutch development finance institution, FMO, with a total value of USD 295 million. The syndicate consists of other Nordic and European development finance institutions such as BII, BIO, Finnfund and Norfund.

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