How the Son Of A Nigerian Industrialist Took His Father’s Company To Far Greater Heights
Intelligent people surround themselves with similar or more intelligent people. When they do this, they have more productive thoughts, ideas and solutions which go on to yield better results.
This is the life and success story of Dele Fajemirokun, a smart entrepreneur who surrounds himself with brilliant minds and positively uses their influence to his advantage in attaining great strides in his engagements.
He is the CEO of Henry Stephens Group of Companies and his approach to success has helped him manage and grow a multi-million dollar business.
Here’s how he did it:
Early Life And Education Of Dele Fajemirokun
Dele Fajemirokun was born in Nigeria to Henry Oloyede Fajemirokun, a Nigerian millionaire and successful businessman. He had his secondary school education at ‘Gboluji Grammar School, Ile Oluji, Ondo State, then his tertiary education at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) where he earned a B.Sc in Business Economics. He also further went on to bag a Doctorate from the University of Los Angeles, USA.
Journey To Entrepreneurship
Coming from a wealthy background and with access to a lot of resources and finance, Dele cultivated and invested in several high-class companies in Nigeria, helping him secure an abundance of high-performance enterprises in key sectors of the economy ranging from insurance to telecommunications, oil and gas, agriculture, and manufacturing.
He is currently the Chairman/Director of the board of the companies, and many others, totalling over forty.
Dele’s approach has always been to surround himself with brilliant minds whom are great executes and so, has also forged relationships with many friends who would later become his business partners.
For many of his ventures, he invites friends to be partners, shareholders and employees while he retains a controlling interest. This model enables him to share the risks with others and benefit from the synergy associated with working with a formidable team of partners rather than just running things solo.
Together, they’ve built multiple large businesses together, shared larger profits and experienced losses together.
Becoming the CEO Of Henry Stephens
When Dele’s father died in 1978, he became the Group Executive Director (GED) of Henry Stephens Group (at least 19 companies). Although he had not worked in a managerial capacity in the group before this, his father’s excellent and accurate record-keeping practice provided all the information he needed to know about the businesses.
Dele was not only adept at raising finance; he is skilled at making his money work for him. He possessed the desire to put his company’s interests even above his own, and that contributed significantly to his status.
He took several risks in the interest of the companies with a notable being as Chairman of the board of AIICO Insurance, he used his main house as collateral to enable the company raise a draft of N650 million in 24 hours before the company’s license could be reissued by its regulator.
His dogged and innovative approach to business are portrayed in how he acquired a significant stake in AIICO and later increased his stake to being the majority shareholder of the company.
In the early 90s, the Nigerian government wanted to sell her shares in AIICO Insurance. He was interested in purchasing, but he had been reliably informed that the Federal Government did not want an individual or entity to own it. He was not discouraged by this but still figured out a way to legally purchase the 11% stake in the company, making him the 2nd largest shareholder in the company after American Insurance Group (AIG).
He expressed interest to purchase AIICO Bahamas’ 40% stake in the company, but they valued their shares at an “eight-digit dollar price”, and he had to bid his time.
His patience paid off slightly over a decade later and he acquired their shares, making him the largest shareholder in AIICO Insurance Plc.
Having lost his father at the age of 28, Dele had to relocate from Kano to run his father’s companies. Running the firms was a challenging task because prior to this period, he had only worked as a “sweeper” in his father’s warehouse and a “tally clerk” in his clearing and forwarding company while he was a student.
The entire corporate burden was upon him as all expected him to step into his father’s shoes and carry on the legacy with the expectation of doing greater than his predecessor.
Dele Fajemirokun Today
Chief (Dr.) Oladele Fajemirokun is a well known Nigerian businessman, entrepreneur, investor, venture capitalist and philanthropist.
His conglomerate comprises of companies which he has a grip on, with some including but not limited to King Guards, Multishield Limited, Chicken Republic, FSS Gas Limited, Blue Chip Communications Limited, Food Concepts and Entertainment, amongst others.
Dele Fajemirokun’s Impact In Society
Dele Fajemirokun has held various positions in the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was elected the 4th President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA). He was also the 6th President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and became the 1st President of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce (1972–1978).
Dele also co-founded and became the founding President of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) alongside Sir Adam Thomson, the then Chairman of British Caledonian Airways, now British Airways.
Dele was a member of the Board of Governors and also former President of Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC). He was also elected the Vice-President, Federation of Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce.
To Sum It Up
Being born wealthy is not a guarantee of success, but for a person of Dele’s personality, looking out for opportunities, surrounding yourself with like-minds, and staying committed can make many things possible.
You may not be born wealthy, but these very principles can help you build a successful business.