Meet Oba Otudeko, the Man Who Overtook Femi Otedola to Become First Bank’s Majority Shareholder

Jul 16, 2023 | Entertainment, News

In the last few weeks, there have been plenty of conversations around Oba Otudeko, Nigerian businessman, founder and chairman of the Honeywell Group, a diversified industrial, trading, and investment conglomerate.

Recently, the businessman who was at a time the chairman of FBN Holdings acquired 4.7 billion shares of the bank, becoming the majority shareholder with 14% stake.

Oba Otudeko, First Bank
Oba Otudeko, Chairman of Honeywell Group
Photo credit – Honeywell Group
Source: UGC

This simple acquisition has stirred controversy from different quarters, including Ecobank Nigeria who accuse Otudeko of divesting his asset and claim that he was owing it.

Asides the controversy generated so far, it is only imperative for us to get to know this accomplished entrepreneur and investor who has founded many thriving and successful companies in over five decades.

Otudeko’s early life and education

Born on August 18, 1943, in Ibadan, Oyo State, Ayoola Oba Otudeko hails from a distinguished lineage as an Omoba of the Yoruba community. His mother excelled as a prominent entrepreneur.

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His educational journey started at St. John’s School in Oke Agbo, Ijebu-Igbo in Ogun State. Subsequently, he pursued his studies at Olivet Baptist High School in Oyo State.

Otudeko furthered his academic pursuits by enrolling in Accountancy at the Leeds College of Commerce in Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

Building upon his educational foundation, Oba Otudeko attained professional qualifications as a Chartered Banker, Chartered Accountant, and Chartered Corporate Secretary.

In addition to his educational background, Oba Otudeko has actively participated in executive management training programs offered by prestigious institutions.

Notably, he enriched his knowledge and skills by attending programs at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Harvard Business School, and Hult International Business School (formerly known as Arthur D. Little School of Management).

Otudeko’s banking career

Utilizing his acquired qualifications, Otudeko commenced his professional journey as a clerk at the Co-operative Bank in Ibadan, despite its nonoperational status.

Displaying unwavering commitment and diligence, he remained dedicated to his role, gradually ascending the ranks within the organization.

Through perseverance and hard work, Otudeko achieved promotions that propelled him to the esteemed positions of General Manager and acting Chief Executive Officer of the bank.

This noteworthy progression exemplifies his resilience and determination to reach the pinnacle of his career.

Demonstrating remarkable loyalty, he dedicated 23 years of his professional life to the banking industry, delivering exceptional service in the corporate realm.

Ultimately, in 1983, after leaving an indelible mark within the sector, Otudeko decided to resign from his role.

Going into business

With a business-savvy mother, Otudeko harbored a deep-rooted inclination towards the entrepreneurial realm.

When he retired from the banking sector, he found himself with the opportunity to fully immerse himself in this passion.

This marked the inception of Honeywell Enterprises, initially established as a trading venture focused on importing and marketing commodities across the northern and southern regions of Nigeria during the 1970s.

Over time, the enterprise flourished and evolved into Honeywell Group, a prominent indigenous conglomerate at the forefront of Nigeria’s business landscape.

Otudeko’s Honeywell Group and its many subsidiaries

Starting as a flour mill, the Honeywell Group has undergone a transformative journey, growing into a diversified conglomerate with numerous subsidiaries operating across various sectors of the economy.

Prized companies Otudeko still keeps in his portfolio today are Broadview Engineering Limited, HOGL Energy Limited and Rosetti Pivot Nigeria Limited.

Others are Anchorage Leisures, Uraga Real Estate, Shoreline Logistics Nigeria and Pavilion Technology.

Otudeko’s humanitarian works and philanthropy

In 2003, Oba Otudeko took the initiative to establish the Oba Otudeko Foundation (OOF), a non-governmental organization dedicated to giving back to society.

The foundation’s primary objective is to foster sustainable development in Nigeria and other African nations. It achieves this by focusing on empowering individuals, building their capacities, and strengthening institutions within these communities.

The Oba Otudeko Foundation is committed to making a meaningful and lasting impact in pursuit of its mission.

Boards served on

From May 1997 to December 2010, Oba Otudeko served on the board of First Bank, and later, from 2011 to 2021, he continued his service as Chairman of FBN Holdings until his retirement.

Additionally, he held significant leadership roles as Chairman of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, FBN Bank (UK) Limited, Fan Milk of Nigeria Plc, Airtel Nigeria, and the Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce from 2000 to 2011.

Throughout his distinguished career, Oba Otudeko’s expertise was sought after, as demonstrated by his board memberships in various esteemed organizations.

Notably, he contributed to the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1990 to 1997, Guinness Nigeria Plc from 1999 to 2003, British American Tobacco Ltd from 2001 to 2004, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, headquartered in Lome, Togo, from 2002 to 2010.

Furthermore, from September 2006 to August 2009, he held the esteemed position of the 16th President and Chairman of the Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, further exemplifying his leadership and influence within the financial sector.

Awards and recognition

In recognition of his significant contributions to Nigeria’s economic and social development, as well as his unwavering dedication to noble causes and the betterment of the nation, Oba Otudeko’s National Honour has been elevated throughout the years.

In November 2011, he was bestowed with the prestigious title of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), having previously received the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in November 2002 and the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in December 2000.

In 2001, he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by Olabisi Onabanjo University, and in 2011, Crescent University bestowed this prestigious honor upon him.

Furthermore, he was honored as the Entrepreneur of the Year by ThisDay Newspapers in 2006 and recognized as the African Business Leader of the Year by Africa Investor Magazine in 2009.

Otudeko’s family life

Otudeko is happily married to Adebisi Aderonke Otudeko, who holds the title of princess within a ruling family in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

Together, they have been blessed with three children: Moyo Otudeko, Folake Otudeko, and Obafemi Ademola Otudeko, and their family continues to grow with the addition of many grandchildren.

Otudeko’s devout faith lies in Christianity, and he finds great pleasure in immersing himself in the world of literature.

An avid reader, he particularly enjoys delving into biographies, historical accounts, and books on leadership.


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