Personal Profile

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Jun 2024 – Aug 2024

Ayoola Obafemi Akomolafe

Ayoola Obafemi Akomolafe

Lagos, Nigeria

Ayoola Obafemi Akomolafe boasts a distinguished career spanning three decades as a prominent business leader and executive. With a robust background in commercial endeavours, Ayoola embarked on his professional marketing journey in 1993, eventually earning the esteemed title of Fellow in 2015.

Throughout his career, Ayoola has garnered acclaim for spearheading transformative initiatives within organizations, consistently delivering concrete outcomes.

His expertise encompasses a spectrum of disciplines including Business & Channel Development, Marketing, People Capability Development, Leadership, Strategy, and Financial Management.

A proud alumnus of prestigious institutions such as Lagos State University, Obafemi Awolowo University, and Lagos Business School, Ayoola exemplifies versatility as a team leader, strategic planner, mentor, and business & leadership coach.

He passionately advocates for societal progress, epitomized by his unwavering commitment to the ideals of Project Nigeria.

Residing in Lagos, Nigeria, Ayoola finds fulfilment in his role as a devoted husband and father of four.

AGN; You have said “you are at home to all the cultures”. Nigeria is a multi-cultural nation comprising of people who have different ethnic origins. Kindly expand on what your statement means in practice.

AOA; In my career, I’ve had the privilege of working across various markets and geographical regions within Nigeria and several West African countries. This exposure necessitated a deep dive into understanding and appreciating the distinct cultures present in each location to effectively fulfil my responsibilities.

AGN; Why did you decide to study marketing?

AOA; I was drawn to the field of marketing by a profound desire to comprehend the intricacies of delivering genuine value to individuals and organizations.

AGN; You have over 30 years of commercial experience. While processes and practices may change, principles don’t always do so. What would you highlight that is principally different about marketing now than when you first started out?

AOA; Core principles having changed as such so there is nothing I would highlight. I would say that today, marketing thrives on adapting timeless principles to changing landscapes.

Key focuses include consumer insights, innovation, storytelling, brand trust, creativity, point-of-sale tactics, referrals, trendsetting, and impactful visual content.

AGN; You are a member of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) and have served in different committees at the Institute. You are currently an elected Governing Council member and you also Chair the Education, Examination and Accreditation Committee. Why did you decide to engage to the extent you do with this organization?

AOA; My decision to join NIMN was driven by a desire to formalize and professionalize my practice in accordance with Act 25 of Parliament of 2003, which grants NIMN the authority to regulate the marketing profession. Serving on the Governing Council of the Institute reflects my commitment to volunteer-ism, service, and supporting the vision of the current leadership.

AGN; You currently work at the company Elkris Group in Nigeria. Please highlight what the company does and provide an insight into your role there?

AOA; I am honoured to serve as the Group Coordinating Officer of Elkris Group, a revolutionary indigenous food manufacturing and packaging conglomerate in Nigeria.

Our primary focus lies in innovating and producing healthier alternatives to traditional staples such as garri (derivative of cassava), pounded yam, and fufu, utilizing our double-fiber natural swallow product.

In this capacity, I provide strategic leadership and guidance to ensure the cohesive operation and advancement of the entire group.

AGN; You are passionate about youth development, supporting early to mid-career professionals to manage and accelerate their career journey in order to enable them fulfil their purpose and achieve their ambition in the corporate and business world. Why are you driven to make such an impact?

AOA; I am deeply committed to nurturing the next generation of professionals because I recognize that youth represent the future of our profession. As a trustee of posterity, it is my responsibility to play my part in ensuring their development and success.

AGN; Let’s talk tangibles. What sort of things do you actually do to help the cohort you target actualize their ambitions?

AOA; To help the cohort I target realize their ambitions, I engage in various tangible actions. These include providing mentorship, offering guidance and coaching, assigning tasks that challenge and develop their skills, and facilitating exposure to relevant trainings and conferences.

AGN; You have worked in all markets and States in Nigeria as well as some West African Countries where you have worked at the likes of Marc & Mei Nig Limited, Joy investment & Finance Co Ltd, Cadbury Nig Plc, Berger Paints Plc, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), National Institute of Nigeria (NIMN), Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Nampak Nigeria Limited and Elkris Group.

For outsiders looking in, what you highlight as key characteristics that are common across corporations in West Africa?

AOA; West Africa’s economy is predominantly consumption-driven, characterized by a friendly and hospitable environment ripe with opportunities. We operate with a result-oriented mindset, fostering growth and prioritizing customer and people management.

The can-do spirit permeates our approach to business, driving us to increase the utilization of local content to resonate with our diverse cultural background. Additionally, we are focused on sales expansion as a key strategy for sustained growth and market penetration.

AGN; In view of what you have said above, is there anything that you would say is distinctly Nigerian?

AOA; Resilience, can do spirit, strong will and large population. These attributes form the bedrock of our ability to overcome challenges, pursue opportunities, and drive progress in various endeavours.

AGN; It is not uncommon to hear about the failings in Nigeria. In terms of business in Nigeria, what would you point to that highlights where business is getting it right?

AOA; A clear vision, adaptability, risk-taking, effective marketing, passionate leadership, and engaged staff are vital for business success.

AGN; Some would argue that Nigeria needs to shift more drastically from a primary economy that is heavily reliant on agriculture and the extractive industries such as oil and gas to one that is more geared towards manufacturing and provision of services.

There is ample evidence to indicate many are trying to do their bit to actualize this, however, there remain a number of sticking points. What would you pin-point that appears to be a comparatively easier lift on paper, but if undertaken effectively, it would have an outsize impact on rebalancing the economy?

AOA; Consistency and a longer term commitment to policies that extend beyond an election cycle. Certainty is good for business.

AGN; What do you consider to be Nigeria’s greatest asset?

AOA; Nigeria’s greatest asset lies in its population and diversity.

AGN; They say all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Presumably the same applies to Kunle, Ngozi and so on. Do you find time to relax and enjoy any hobbies?

AOA; Absolutely. I find relaxation and joy in trying out different dishes.

AGN; What do you tend to find amusing?

AOA; I find the way many people here respond to certain music and football stars or teams, amusing. It’s as if they get caught up in a frenzy about what is principally entertainment.

AGN; Which key traits do people mention when they speak about your character?

AOA; When people speak about my character, they often mention my accountability and adaptability.

AGN; Where were you raised and what type of upbringing did you have?

AOA; I was raised in Lagos, coming from a humble background.

AGN; Which person or people had the most impact on you during your upbringing that has/have helped shape who you are today?

AOA; My father, a modest man, had the most significant impact on shaping who I am today.

AGN; Is there anything you would like to add?

AOA; Live life to the fullest, maintain integrity, and uphold a good name. These qualities will speak for you one day.

Previous ‘Personal Profile’ interviews are available here; archive

Ri Iyovwaye


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on behalf of African Global Networks (AGN) - Jun 2024