Adebayo Ogunlesi: Influential Nigerian Billionaire Entrepreneur

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“As I dey hustle like Adebayo Ogunlesi, no go talk say me I too lazy.” Like is quickly becoming the case with some of Burna Boy’s recent music releases, upon hearing this verse, people started searching for Adebayo Ogunlesi. And he was in fact a trending topic on Twitter for a while.

For someone so wealthy you’d think most people would have heard about him. So it was somewhat surprising that the average Nigerian didn’t know much about Adebayo Ogunlesi before Burna Boy’s verse in Wonderful. I guess that is the difference between wealthy Africans in Diaspora and the ones living in and making their money from Africa. Can we call it relevancy?

I think we can call it relevancy. Because this Burna Boy’s song wasn’t the first time his name has been thrown into the limelight. Many may not remember it but he was once appointed by Donald Trump in 2016. He was a member of his Strategic and Policy Forum. Yes really, Donald Trump. The forum was disbanded around August 2017.

Short Biography of Adebayo Ogunlesi

Ogunlesi was originally from Makun, Sagamu, Ogun State in Nigeria. He is the son of Theophilus O. Ogunlesi and was born on December 20, 1953.

He would later go on to attend King’s College, Lagos, Nigeria for his secondary school.

Adebayo Ogunlesi has been married to a British-born optometrist, Dr Amelia Quist-Ogunlesi since 1985. They are blessed with two children.

In 2012, He was appointed to the Board of Directors at Goldman Sachs and he became their Lead Director in July 2014.

Since 2013, Mr Ogunlesi has made over 10 Goldman Sachs trades according to Form 4 filed with SEC. As of 2020, Mr Ogunlesi owned about 5,889 units of Goldman Sachs stock which is worth over $1,930,179.

On May 13, 2016, he made his largest trade by exercising 13,012 units of Goldman Sachs stock. It is believed to be worth over $4,264,813. As of 2020, he still owns about 66,677 units of Goldman Sachs stock.

Anyways, let’s get on with some facts about Adebayo Ogunlesi, our underrated Billionaire. Let’s get familiar.

  1. He was appointed by the former American president, Donald Trump, as part of his Strategic and Policy Forum.
  2. Mr Adebayo Ogunlesi is a proper scholar with an impressive array of academic accomplishments. But that is really just a trait that runs in the family. His father, T O Ogunlesi was the first Nigerian professor of medicine at the University of Ibadan. B A in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, a JD from Harvard Law School, and an MBA from Harvard Business School are just some of Ogunlesi’s academic highlights.
  3. He is the Chairman and Managing Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). It is a New York-based independent investment fund with more than $35 billion in assets under management and investments.
  4. He first became a household name in 2010 after GIP bought Gatwick Airport. Gatwick Airport happens to be London’s second-largest airport. It is because of this accomplishment he now popularly referred to as ‘the Nigerian who bought Gatwick Airport.’
  5. In 1983, Ogunlesi worked for a New York law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore. He would practise law for only nine months. He was invited for discussions and offered a job by First Boston, an investment bank. His years at First Boston would later become the foundation for his growth. It was where he was well-groomed into the man that is now highly sought after.
  6. Credit Suisse bought First Boston in 1997 and renamed it Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). He was once spoken of in glowing review by the chief executive of CSFB, John Mack thus: “Bayo Ogunlesi is a banker of powerful intellect, integrity and innovation. He has a broad global perspective and a keen understanding of complex financial transactions. Our clients worldwide have benefited greatly from his strategic insights.”
  7. Ogunlesi spent about 23 years working with Credit Suisse. He held top positions in like executive vice-chairman, chief client officer and the global head of investment banking.
  8. Mr Ogunlesi was also once described as one of the smartest money managers of Wall Street. He was profiled by Time Magazine in 2002 among 15 Most-promising Young Executives in its list of 2002 Global Influentials. He was also once ranked by Fortune as the Seventh Most Powerful Black Executive in the United States.
  9. Adebayo Ogunlesi studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Oxford University, where he graduated with honours. During his time at Harvard Law School, he became one of the first two editors of African descent, to serve together on the influential Harvard Law Review.
  10. For someone with so much international success, Ogunlesi has never really directly worked with the Nigerian Government at a full capacity. But he has been at the vanguard of championing African economic renaissance. He also served as an adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in an informal capacity, particularly on privatization matters.

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