Yes, you read that correct; London Gatwick Airport is owned by a black man. Ladies and gentlemen, meet 59-year-old Nigerian, Adebayo Ogunlesi – not only owner of the airport but also the chairman and managing partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).
GIP is an independent investment fund based in New York City with worldwide stake in infrastructure assets.
When it comes to success, it seems apt that in Mr Ogunlesi’s case, the apple doesn’t fall far from its tree. Being the son of the first Nigerian-born medical professor, the 59-year-old was bound to aim high in whatever career path he chose.
On why he chose to invest in the UK, Mr Ogunlesi said, “In the sector we invest, which is infrastructure, we think Britain is a wonderful place to invest”. Gatwick is the fourth place he has invested in the UK, which means “almost half of our investment is in the UK”, he added.
Additionally, Mr Ogulensi attributes his choice in investment in Britain to the stability of the “regulatory framework, the legal system and of course they [his investments] are very attractive assets which you can manage effectively”.
The Nigerian is amongst the leading business men in Africa, breaking barriers and stereotypes and this £1.455billion agreement with British Airports Authority is one to applaud and admire.
Before leading the Gatwick Airport Acquisition, Mr Ogunlesi attended the prestigious King’s College, Lagos. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar Association. He was a lecturer at Harvard Law School and the Yale School. Furthermore, the businessman studied philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford and then earned law and business degrees from Harvard.
To sum up Mr Ogunlesi in one word, it would be difficult to find anything other than, Inspiring. Not only has Mr Ogunlesi’s team have Gatwick airport alone; the Nigerian has also bought out Edinburgh airport for a staggering £807million.
Speaking after the acquisition, GIP’s chairman Ogunlesi said, “Edinburgh Airport is a high-quality infrastructure asset. Its acquisition is a landmark deal for GIP”.
The company’s plans for developing Edinburgh – which saw 9.5 million passengers last year and serves more than 100 destinations – are expected to be around accelerating the speed at which passengers travel through check-in, security and baggage, and to encourage new routes at Scotland’s capital.
TNT Business Yasin Chinembiri