Anthony Onyemaechi Elumelu is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist as well as one of Nigeria’s most influential individuals.
Who is Tony Elumelu?
Tony Elumelu founded Africa’s leading philanthropic institution; the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) and is the chairman of Heirs Holdings, Transcorp, Tenoil Petroleum & Energy Services Limited, and a group chairman of the United Bank of Africa (UBA). In 2020, Tony Elumelu was named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people in the world. Elumelu, one of only four Africans on the 2020 list, was lauded for his track record of a business turnaround and value creation, as well as economic empowerment of young Africans.
Born into a family of six (6), Tony Elumelu was one of four (4) siblings, one of whom is Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, a minority leader in the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives. On March 22, 1963, he was born in Jos, Plateau, to Suzanne and Dominic Elumelu of Onicha-Ukwu (in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State). Elumelu studied in Ambrose Alli University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He then obtained a Master’s of Science degree in Economics, and most notably, his time at The Advanced Management programme of Harvard Business School.
Tony Elumelu stepped into the limelight in 1997 after leading a group of small investors in the takeover of a failing commercial bank in Lagos. Tony Elumelu turned the bank profitable within a few years and merged it with United Bank for Africa in 2005. UBA now has subsidiaries in 20 African countries, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom. Elumelu worked to build Standard Trust Bank into a major player in Nigeria early in his career, and when they merged with UBA, he became chairman until his retirement, 13 years later. Tony Elumelu founded Heirs Holding after retiring from UBA in 2010. Tony Elumelu advises USAID’s Private Capital Group for Africa (PCGA) Partners Forum. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series on Global Food Security, as well as a member of the Food Security Strategy Group.
He also serves as the chairman of the Ministerial Committee charged with establishing world-class hospitals and diagnostic centers throughout Nigeria. He is a member of the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All Initiative’s Global Advisory Board. He also runs the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which has helped thousands of African entrepreneurs.
Returning to UBA
Tony Elumelu returned as Chairman to succeed Ambassador Joe Keshi. Until his re-appointment, Elumelu only served as Chairman/CEO of Heirs Holdings, the pan-African proprietary investment company, and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded by him in 2010. Elumelu stepped down as Group Managing Director/CEO of UBA in 2010, following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s implementation of 10-year tenure limits for bank CEOs. Phillips Oduoza, former Group Managing Director/CEO of UBA, stated at the time that Tony Elumelu’s return to the Board following retirement would increase the depth of knowledge and experience in the African financial services industry.
Elumelu acknowledged that financial services were a key driver of African growth, both in terms of social inclusion and regional integration, and stated that his return to UBA Group would provide him with a unique platform to contribute his quota to the effort to deliver both extraordinary value and drive Africa’s economic success.
Heirs Holdings is a family-owned investment firm dedicated to bettering people’s lives. The organisation is considered the leading African strategic investor, and in partnership with its affiliated company, Transcorp, both are considered Nigeria’s largest publicly listed conglomerate. The investment portfolio of Heirs Holding includes companies across diverse sectors including power, financial services, oil and gas, hospitality, real estate, and healthcare industries. The company has operations in twenty-three countries around the world. Elumelu owns a majority stake in Transnational Corporation through Heirs Holdings, a multinational conglomerate with holdings in power, hospitality, and energy.
Through Heirs Holdings, Elumelu holds a majority stake in Transnational Corporation, as well as a multinational conglomerate with holdings in Power, Hospitality and Energy. On the 15th of January, 2021, Heirs Holdings announced its unconditional acquisition of a 45% participating interest of OML (Oil Mining Lease) 17 from Shell, Total, and ENI. With a $1.1 billion financing component provided by a consortium of global and regional banks and investors, the transaction was recognised as one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade. The investment marked a significant step forward in Heirs Holdings’ integrated energy strategy and the Group’s commitment to Africa’s development through long-term investments that generate economic and social wealth.
The heritage and business approach of Heirs Holdings exemplify the company’s commitment to inclusive development and shared prosperity with its host communities. Heirs Holdings also demonstrated its commitment to investing in the Niger Delta’s development. Upon the acquisition of “such a high-quality asset”, Tony Elumelu stated; “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs”.
Tony Elumelu’s Net Worth
Tony Elumelu was inducted into Forbes’ African billionaire club in November 2014, with a $1 billion fortune. However, he fell off the following year. As of November 2015, he was ranked 31st on Africa’s 50 Richest list, with an estimated worth of $700 million, according to the magazine’s real-time billionaire’s sheet. Now, he is currently one of the richest and the most influential businessmen in Nigeria, with an estimated net worth of $900 million dollars.
Awards and Recognitions
● Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (2003)
● National Honour (2006)
● African Banker of Year by Africa Investor Magazine (2008)
● National Honour of Commander of the order of Niger (CON) (2012)
● Africa’s 20 most powerful people by Forbes magazine (2012)
● 100 Most Influential Africans in Business by New African Magazine (2012)
● Honorary Doctorate of Science Degree from Benue State University (2012)
● Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from UNN (2012)
● Leadership Award in Business and Philanthropy from the AAI (2013)
● ESI Most Influential Figures in African Power (2015)
● CGECI Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. (2016)