Femi Otedola is a common name in Nigeria. This is definitely not your first time hearing that name. Femi Otedola is a businessman that has moved up to the part of Forbes list of billionaires.
He is a successful businessman and someone everyone wants to associate with but the beginning of his entrepreneurship journey was not that rosy but still, he was able to pave way for himself.
Frequently a lot of people have been asking questions regarding Femi Otedola’s wife, children, net worth and biography; so here at Gurus Coach, I have taken it upon myself to write the story line of this great man.
Who Is Femi Otedola
Femi Otedola is a Nigerian businessman, philanthropist. He was born in Ibadan the capital of Oyo state, south wets Nigeria into the family of the late Sir Michael Otedola, Governor of Lagos State from 1992 to 1993.
He has always had an interest while he was young. He once said in an interview that he had a disciplinarian as a father. He went further to say that his father was an influence on him because he was able to express himself and develop his business skill.
When he was 6 years old he started his first business which he name FEMCO. His business plan was to groom his parents’ guests’ nails; the n write them a receipt and charge them for his service. This was his first business.
“I had my first business at the age of six. It was called FEMCO. I would offer to groom my parents’ guests’ nails. Then write them a receipt and charge them for my service. They paid me too. I always had an interest in the business.”
This was how he started his business and entrepreneurship journey. While growing up, Femi Otedola had always wanted to be a Reverend father, but his business instinct started early.
Femi Otedola obtained his bachelor’s qualification from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (Great Ife) from 1980 to 1985.
Otedola accredits his success to his late Father whose disciplinarian acts helped him to develop the right attitude to work. He said in a statement that:
“He was strict and was disciplined. He always kept saying to me that honesty is always the best policy, hard work, and contentment. He would always allow you to pursue what you believe to be your destiny; he wasn’t the type to interfere unnecessarily with what his children were doing.”
This was how Otedola childhood was like, he had a supportive father who would not condone laziness.
While growing up, he had the ambition of becoming a Catholic Reverend father which he made known in an interview.
“I used to admire Reverend fathers in their clean white cassock and I thought this was my destiny but of course, events changed all that and instead of becoming a reverend father I ended up becoming a businessman.” Femi Otedola said in an interview with Proshare.
Early Business Life
In the early business life of Otedola, he worked for the family printing press in the 1990s after graduating from University.
It was during this period he began his career as a businessman in his father’s company. He supervised the marketing department of his father’s publishing firm.
He worked several years in his father’s company before setting out to start his own company.
In 2003, Otedola set up Zenon Petroleum and Gas Ltd, a company in the oil and gas sector.
In 2004, he invested N15 billion naira in downstream infrastructure development and acquired storage deports.
By 2005, Zenon controlled a major share of the Nigerian diesel market, supplying fuel to most of the major manufacturers in the country.
In 2007, Zenon was able to acquire loans worth $1.5 billion (N193.5 billion) to build the largest premium motor spirit storage facility in Africa.
In order to obtain the loan, he contacted Zenith bank and had a conversation with Jim Ovia. This was his statement in an interview.
“I contacted Zenith bank, sold my pitch on the venture and how we would finance it. I had a meeting that barely lasted 10 minutes with Jim Ovia, he believed in me and it was a done deal. This was in 2003.”
Following the acquisition of loan from Zenith bank, Zenon grew rapidly and in 2007, Otedola was appointed the chairman and chief executive of Africa Petroleum through the acquisition of a controlling stake in the business.
This is the result of buying 29.3% of the Africa Petroleum oil company for N40 billion.
Following Otedola’s entry into the Africa Petroleum’s the company share price soar higher.
In March 2009, Otedola became the second Nigerian after Aliko Dangote to appear on the Forbes list of dollar-denominated billionaires with an estimated net worth of $1.2 billion.
In 2010, Africa Petroleum (AP) rebranded changing its name to Forte oil plc. Otedola carried out a restructuring of the business focusing on technology and improved corporate governance.
Just like everything was young on smoothly for Africa Petroleum and Zenon, the unexpected happened when the price of oil fell and naira devalued.
This was a bitter experience for Femi Otedola because he lost billions of naira which put him in debt. His net worth which was $1.8 billion crashed to a staggering $330 million dollar.
These all happened in 2008, when a shipment containing one million tons of diesel was on it’s way to Nigeria. It belonged to Forte oil and before it could reach Nigeria, a problem occurred.
All of a sudden oil prices collapsed and the price dropped from $146 to $34 while he had over one million tons of diesel on the high seas.
“I has about 93 percent of the diesel market on my fingertips, all of a sudden oil prices collapsed and I had over one million tons of diesel on the high seas and the price dropped from $146 to $34.” Otedola said.
During that period Otedola said that he had two options to either commit suicide orr solvef the problem.
A week after the idea of committing suicide ran through his mind. He heard the news that richest man in Germany Adolf Merckle committed suicide having lost his wealth.
He then decided, he has to solve the problem in order to move on. This was a very different period for him as a business man because he lost all his wealth and was in debt of $1.2 billion.
According to CNBC, he lost over $480 million due to the plunge in oil prices, $258 million through the devaluation of naira and a further $320 million due to accruing interest and then finally $160 million when the stocks crashed.
“Of course after I had lost N200 billion, I had two options to either commit suicide or solve the problem.
A week after the idea ran through my mind, I heard news that the richest man in Germany Adolf Merckle committed suicide having lost his wealth.
Let me tell you in case you don’t know, at one time I was subsidising the entire country because I was the largest importer of diesel and added to that had to deal with a huge amount of losses incurred by the devaluation of the currency and the slump in oil prices.
You see, at any point in time then, I had diesel with worth over $400 million on the high seas.
So when crude oil prices slumped from $147 to $36, then I didn’t have the structure to hedge against these losses. But whatever the case, I was determined to solve the problem. What I also found funny was that when some banks were wooing me with their money.
Before my losses they sent beautiful looking women to run after me for the accounts. But after I lost money and the same banks wanted to collect their money back, they sent stem looking men (laughter).
They didn’t care how much I lost or how I lost the money, all they wanted was that I pay back their money.”
Not long after this, he was offered a restructuring deal which he rejected and decided to pay all his debt and start all over again.
He decided to have a change of board team and got talented young women and men to start all over again. This decision finally turned out successful and ever since then there was a turn around and the company increased and expanded rapidly. Before 2014, Femi Otedola was back again on the forbes billionaire list.
“A lot of people said to me that these guys are too young, but I disagreed because I believe you have to give room for fresh ideas and for people to grow and prove themselves.”
How Much Is Otedola’s Networth
Recently due to drop in the share price of Forte Oil, his net worth was reduced to $1.2 billion
As one of the billionaires in the world with his wealth majorly coming from oil sector, He has a luxury in Ikoyi, which is where he and his family resides.Femi Otedola also has houses in both Abuja and Banana Island.
He is also one of those billionaires in Nigeria with Yatch. According to sources Femi Otedola cars reportedly include a fleet of custom Rolls Royce cars in London and a Mercedes fleet in Nigeria with close to $8 million. Apart from his properties in Nigeria, he also has properties in Dubai, London and New York city.
Femi Otedola is married to Nana Otedola and blessed with four (4) children. Otedola first daughter is Tolani. After he got married to Nana Otedola, he had two more daughters – Florence Ifeoluwa and Elizabeth Temi and a son, Fewa.
Florence Otedola popularly known as DJ CUPPY is a disc jockey and music producer as well as a tourism ambassador for Nigeria. While Temi is a style blogger.
Here we are at the end of the post.
How was it reading the story of a man who in a twinkle of an eye lost everything but took his ground and started all over.
Once in debt of $1.2 billion dollar, paid the debt and grew his business to where it is today.
What a very difficult but interesting entrepreneurship journey. His life is a motivation to entrepreneurs swilling to create something.
I kept on wondering; If he had not given the platform for young men and women to express themselves, what would have happened?
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