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In the spirit of Saltvim 2021 – Part 2

By Michael Omolayole
22 December 2021   |   3:44 am
I commend most sincerely the four organisations they worked for. Mobile Telephone Network (MTN), Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO) and Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited.

Bonga-Snepco Oil rig

I commend most sincerely the four organisations they worked for.  Mobile Telephone Network (MTN), Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO) and Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited. I congratulate these progressive companies for believing in Nigerians and also believing in Nigerianisation of the topmost management position.

It is no mean effort to search diligently for and find talented and virtuous Nigerians. After a successful search, these organisations went further to train and develop them and to try them out at various lower levels before promoting them to the pinnacle. It takes sincerity, courage and diligence to establish a workable top management succession plan and to stick to the plan without giving excuses for failure. It is much easier to make excuses than to get results.

Engagement with chairmen of some of the globalised companies still lagging behind through dialogue

As promised last year, every opportunity available was taken to have dialogue with many large globalised companies on the matter of top management succession planning. It was hoped that the subject matter would be reported dutifully in every annual report and accounts. It was also hoped that each audit committee of the companies would pronounce on the matter in its report because it touches on the seriousness of the audit of the management system, not just paying attention to financial figures.

Sadly, no annual report and accounts of the companies that were dialogued with, lived up to the expectation. Again there were excuses; the biggest culprits belong to FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Groups). It is hoped that the 2022 scorecards of these companies will be much better.

Three very large members of the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Group) appointed expatriates as new CEOs in the year 2021 in replacement of the expatriates who left. None of the three companies felt obliged to explain to Nigerians exactly what was going on in spite of the dialogue with them in the year 2020. We can only hope that what is going on is not a dialogue between two deaf, dumb and blind constituencies. The directors of Communication in these companies whose photographs adorn the pages of the Nigerian Newspapers several times in a month should read this essay and pass the contents to their expatriate CEOs/ Bosses and through them to the headquarters of the international conglomerates.

As it happened last year, something heart-warming occurred towards the end of this year. It was the elevation of the first Nigerian/lady, to the position of CEO of Procter and Gamble Nigeria (P&G), Mrs Mokutima Ajileye. I most heartily congratulate Mrs Ajileye for smashing this particular “glass ceiling” with double effects. To the best of my knowledge, the position has never been held by any Nigerian, man or woman and therefore in the Nigeria parlance, “I throw salute”!

On behalf of SALTVIM I also congratulate warmly and heartily Procter and Gamble the famous consumer company with International Headquarters in Cincinnati Ohio, USA. I know a lot about them.  I know how thorough and how professional an International Company it is. By the grace of God she will be invited by SALTVIM for a Merit Award on Thursday September 29, 2022. The members of SALTVIM pray for more good news especially from the FMC group. To Procter and Gamble I say bravo! I refrain from naming names of companies that lag behind because this will look like shaming them. However I sincerely hope and pray that they will read this essay and turn over a new leaf.

Once again to my dear friends in the FMC group, (I do truly have many friends there) if Procter and Gamble can do it, you too can do it !   I do know for certain that some of the companies reading this may probably say inaudibly “with friends like you we don’t need an enemy”!

I am inviting the foreign embassies representing the countries of origin of the international conglomerates in Nigeria to take an interest in the essays from SALTVIM, appearing in the national newspapers, in particular in The Guardian and join us in a dialogue if they so wish. We in SALTVIM are asking for the most peaceful way of making a change!

Merry Christmas to my readers and Happy New Year in advance.


Omolayole is former CEO of Lever Brothers Nigeria Limited now Unilever Nigeria Plc.

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