Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola was born in January 1954 to the Adeola household as the 5th of 17 children. His father worked as a bank clerk to cater for their large family. His mother used to send him and his brothers to the streets to hawk wares to supplement the family income. Despite their very humble backgrounds, they made the time to instil the values of hardwork and integrity into the lives of their children, even amidst humble background.
Fola started his education at St Paul's school BreadFruit, Lagos and then completed his secondary school education at Methodist Boys High School, Lagos. He obtained a Diploma in Accounting from Yaba College of Technology in 1975 and became a Chartered Accountant in 1980 following his training with Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and D.O. Dafinone & Company (both Chartered Accountants). Over the years he has received professional development training at notable institutions worldwide including Harvard Business School, INSEAD, and the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland.
In 1999, Fola completed a one-year sabbatical at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos, Nigeria, where he carried out research on economic development and job creation policies.
Leadership in the Private Sector
Fola is widely recognized as a maverick in the Nigerian private sector. In 1990, he (together with Tayo Aderinokun) established Guaranty Trust Bank, which he managed as Managing Director/CEO from its inception in 1990 to July 2002, during which he firmly established the institution as a strong and credible bank. Guaranty Trust Bank has grown to become one of Nigeria's largest and most profitable companies. The bank has also expanded beyond Nigeria to other neighbouring African countries (The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Liberia) and in United Kingdom. The bank became listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1996.
In 2002, Fola voluntarily retired from Guaranty Trust Bank, after twelve years, successfully handing over to his deputy, Tayo Aderinokun. Since this time period, Fola has served as the chairman of a range of institutions including UTC, ARM, Lotus Capital, Eterna Oil, CardinalStone Partners Limited, Tafsan Breweries (board member), and Credit Registry Services
Tajudeen Fola Adeola is also the chairman of Main One Cable Company Limited which completed the construction of an open access submarine cable system that spanned 14,000 kilometres and provides international and internet connectivity to countries on the Atlantic Coast from Portugal to Lagos, Nigeria connecting these countries with each other and with the rest of the world which completed in 2010.
Leadership in the Public Sector
Fola served as Chairman of the National Pension Commission, following the promulgation into law of the Pension Bill (principally authored by him), by the National Assembly of Nigeria. He chaired the Lagos State Disaster Relief Committee which was set up following the January 27, 2002 bomb blast tragedy in Lagos, Nigeria. He was the Vice Presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) serving as running mate to former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chairman (EFCC) Nuhu Ribadu in the 2011 presidential elections.
Fola was also a member of the National Honours and Awards Committee and was appointed a member of the Governing Council of Lagos State University in November 2004. He served as a member of the Solid Minerals Committee (constituted by the Federal Government) and was the Chairman of Ogun State Development Trust Fund Committee. He was a council member of Lagos State University and until January 17, 2011 served as a council member Olabisi Onabanjo University.
Civil Society Engagement
Given Fola's commitment to empowering Nigerian youth to create jobs for themselves and others, he established the FATE Foundation in 2000.FATE is a non-governmental organization which is dedicated to encouraging the creation of wealth through entrepreneurship, using an innovative mix of training, mentoring, loan support and consulting to support young Nigerians. To date it has served over 30,000 young Nigerian entrepreneurs, of which over 65% are fully employed by their businesses and are employing on average about four staff.
Through the vision of Fola Adeola, FATE is expanding its offerings to start an innovation centre in Abeokuta. The Institute for Venture Design in close collaboration with the Centre for Design Research at Stanford University is starting a new kind of entrepreneurship program focused on engineering, technology, and innovation with a goal to boost development of industry in Nigeria.
Fola has also engaged in many forms of philanthropy and has donated generously to many not for profits causes and religious organizations. Internationally, Fola served as a member of the Global Advisory Committee on Philanthropy of the World Economic Forum for 4 years. In 2001, Fola was invited to join twenty-four other business leaders for the Aspen Institute ISIB Annual Business Leaders Dialogue in Aspen, Colorado. In May 2004, Fola was appointed Commissioner on the Commission for Africa by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Honours and Awards
He was nationally decorated as Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in December 2002 by President Olusegun Obasanjo. He has an honorary doctorate from Nkumba University, Ntebbe, Uganda. Banker of the Decade in 2009 by the Vanguard Newspaper group. Distinguished Famous Alumni award by Yaba Tech. Zik Leadership in 2003. This Day Awards 2011 - Change Makers in Social Entrepreneurship
Fola is married to Hajara, and has six children.
- at www.folaadeola.org
- "Fola Adeola". Fola Adeola. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Main One Cable
- "Fola Adeola Main One Chairman". MainOne Cable Company. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- National Pension Commission
- "Nuhu Ribadu & Fola Adeola". Nuhu Ribadu. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- "Fola Adeola Founder/Chairman of the Board FATE Foundation". The FATE Foundation Lagos. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- "Commissioners". The Commission for Africa. Retrieved 9 July 2010.
- "ThisDay Awards 2011". ThisDay. Retrieved 26 Mar 2011.