Vanguard awards

May 13, 2024

OLUSEGUN OSUNKEYE: Serving God, Country and Humanity


Born September 7, 1940 in Agege, Lagos, Osunkeye started life on the fast lane by gaining admission to King’s College (KC), Lagos in 1954, at a time when admission was based purely on merit. KC students, in the 1950s, were among the cream of Nigeria’s student body.

From them, great things were expected. Osunkeye, by his exemplary achievements in life, has confirmed that his admission was not a fluke. In fact, attendance at KC was only the first chapter in a series of events in a life packed full of success at every stage. He was born to lead and lead well. His tribute to iconic Accountant, the late Pa Akintola Williams, CON, stood out for the self-effacing Osunkeye.

It was, however, a comprehensive revelation of who Williams was – as well as who Osunkeye is and has been all his life. Readers were treated to admirable human attributes – humility, gratitude, reciprocity, loyalty and generosity. But, there were other traits which have streamed through Osunkeye’s life since he began his career with Akintola Williams as an Accountant – patriotism, keen sense of duty and God-fearing in all he does. Career Osunkeye started his career with Akintola Williams and Co; and Peat Marwick, Cassleton Elliot & Co (1959-1963).

He completed his professional studies at Staffordshire College of Commerce, England (1963-1964). He worked for the UAC of Nigeria (1967- 1972) from where he joined Nestle Nigeria Limited and where his career took off like a space craft. He worked for Nestle for over 40 years and eventually rose to become the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer from 1991 to 1999. He became Chairman in 1999 and served until 2013 when he voluntarily retired.

Other Notable Appointments Once upon a time in the Nigerian Organised Private Sector, OPS, it was often said that “all that was required for a company, quoted on the Stock Exchange, to be regarded as blue chip was for the late Gamaliel Onosode, 1933-2015, to be on its Board.” Few noticed that after Onosode passed on, the mantle of leadership of the Organised Private Sector fell on the quiet and unassuming Chief Olusegun Osunkeye. He became the most sought after individual to serve on the Board of companies and private sector organisations.

Here are just a few:
•Chairman, GlaxoSmithKline, GSK
•Chairman, Lafarge/WAPCO
•Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce, Nigeria, (1999-2011)
•Chairman, Institute of Directors, IoD
•National Vice President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN
•President, Nigeria’s Employers Consultative Association, NECA
•President, International Accounting Standards Board, Nigeria •President, Society for Corporate Governance, Nigeria
•President, Omnibus Business Solutions Limited and Pilot Securities

The list of appointments is as long as one’s arm; but, let us stop there Serving God, Country and Humanity His Church, Archbishop Vining Memorial Church, situated at Ikeja, and the Anglican Communion will not forget him in a hurry for his immense contributions to God’s work, In Ogun State, packed full of megabillionaires, Osunkeye is arguably the highest contributor to the University of Agriculture Abeokuta, UNAAB. As President, consultant and mentor to the FATE Foundation, he continues to assist young people to achieve their goals in life.

Summary of his Leadership Style Osunkeye’s leadership style can be summarised in a few words. He corrects without being brash, talks without shouting, listens more than he talks, persuades without dictating, gives without making the beneficiary feel inferior, and treats everybody as another of God’s creation. Osunkeye fits perfectly into the award of Vanguard’s Lifetime Achievement.

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