THE chairman of Honeywell Group of Companies, Bharti Airtel and First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Oba Otudeko, OFR, is best described as a foremost entrepreneur and consummate billionaire investor. With business interests that span manufacturing, oil and gas, telecoms, finance, shipping, real estate, amongst others, this untainted career banker of 23 years (with the defunct Co-operative and Commerce Bank) is worth well over $1 billion!
And since he has obviously made a huge success of his business, particularly Honeywell brand, we asked the one-time President of Nigeria Stock Exchange, the secret of his success, his take on the crisis rocking the capital market and more…
Congratulations on Honeywell Flour Mills Plc successful annual general meeting. How does it feel to have achieved this feat?
We feel fulfilled and appreciate the support of our customers, staff, management and investors.
Our business model is compelling. We sell goods, we produce at very high quality standard. And indeed, there is so much interest in what we produce. Everybody eats, whether there is a meltdown or no meltdown in the economy. We also pay great attention to good, corporate governance. Honeywell Flour Mill aims to be the leader in this industry.
So, that makes your company unique?
Yes, our corporate governance is world class. The quality of our manpower is almost the best in the industry. Indeed our success is dependent on all these factors –a commitment to excellence in all that we do.
How do you intend to continue with the tempo with which you have started, bearing in mind the cloudy economic climate?
Our commitment is towards consistency and we want to make sure that we are not contented. Rather, we will continue to improve on the standard we have on ground.
How would you describe life as a businessman?
It’s good. It’s good to know that one is contributing in his little way to the development and growth of the economy. It’s also humbling that one is directly involved in wealth creation.
What don’t you really like about being a corporate titan?
Nothing in particular, although it is challenging.
What then are the challenges?
They don’t bear further repetition. We know them all. And I am sure we are addressing them.
What must one do to succeed in life?
Believe in God, believe in yourself. Work hard and maintain your integrity at all times.
As a former President of Nigeria Stock Exchange, what is your opinion on what’s going on now in the capital market?
I feel that the stock exchange is going through very difficult times. But we need continuous improvement to ensure that the reform process is strengthened. We also have to do things that will continue to promote confidence because the capital market thrives on confidence and good governance.
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly on Tuesday, September 28, 2010