In 1997, the Credit Suisse Group acquired First Boston and subsequently renamed it Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). Ogunlesi was still one of the institution’s most strategic managers, and by 2002, the new owners had appointed him as the managing director of the firm’s global investment banking division- one of the most influential subsidiaries of the group. Ogunlesi was in charge of a division that managed $2.8 billion in assets and employed over 1,200 investment bankers. His new appointment also earned him a seat on the bank’s board of directors and its influential 15-member operating committee.
However, the elevation was not without some challenges. Ogunlesi had to return the division back to profitability, considering that the previous year it had lost almost $1 billion. He adopted a lean, mean management style, firing 300 bankers and 50 senior executives within the first few weeks of his assumption. He persuaded the remaining staff to accept pay cuts and advocated for reduced operating expenses. Top bankers were required to relinquish the luxury of limousines in favour of taxis. But his cost-cutting measures worked magic. Within a year, the bank had returned to profitability and its revenue had risen by 25 percent.
An eye on Africa
Despite his long sojourn in Europe and America, Ogunlesi still manages to stay abreast of developments in Africa
. He has helped champion the African economic renaissance and in 2009 was appointed non-executive chairman of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), a financial institution set up to revamp Africa’s critical infrastructure and invest in key sectors of the continent’s economy. AFC, which was patterned after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, was a lead investor in the $240 million Main One submarine fibre optic cable that will expand telecommunications capacity in West Africa. AFC also led Africa’s participation in the $750 million syndicated lending facility to develop the landmark Ghanaian Jubilee Oil Field, one of West Africa’s largest deepwater offshore developments in over a decade.
In Nigeria, Ogunlesi is spearheading the corporation’s attempt to address the country’s epileptic power supply. In January 2011 it hosted a power sector roundtable to examine the key issues, identify the constraints and proffer practical solutions to the challenges facing Independent Power Plants (IPPs) in the country. Ogunlesi’s passion for his home country has seen him advising successive governments on fiscal policies, strategic management and economic development. He served as an informal adviser to former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and still consults for the country’s current government on occasion.
Recently, it was announced that Ogunlesi’s Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) was set to acquire Edinburgh
airport for a surprise £807 million ($1.3 billion). Click here to read the full story on Ventures Africa.
Credit : African Sweetheart.