Nigeria News

Tony Elumelu Foundation Appoints New Chief Executive

 The Board of Trustees of the Tony Elumelu Foundation has announced the appointment of Professor Reid E. Whitlock as the chief executive of the foundation, effective monday.

Whitlock’s appointment follows Dr Wiebe Boer, the inaugural chief cxecutive of the foundation, who has become the new Director of Strategy at Heirs Holdings, a pan-African proprietary investment company owned by entrepreneur and philanthropist, Tony Elumelu.

Founded in 2010 by Elumelu, the foundation is Africa's leading advocate for entrepreneurship, and is responsible for programmes designed to ensure that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship become the primary driver of Africa's economic growth and social transformation.

Whitlock brings 30 years of experience as a business school rector, diplomat, entrepreneur, strategy consultant and advisor to leaders in Africa, Asia and the Middle East on economic development.

He received his Ph.D. and law degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the US. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and is a cum laude graduate of Princeton University.

Commenting on Whitlock's appointment, founding Patron of the foundation, Professor Michael Porter said: “Tony’s commitment to African entrepreneurship is unshakeable and I salute his appointment of Professor Whitlock as the CEO of his foundation.

“Professor Whitlock has unique experience in driving competitiveness and entrepreneurship growth in Africa, including in Rwanda that has achieved remarkable progress. I look forward to continuing to support Tony as he furthers Africa’s revival through the great work of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda stated: “I am delighted to hear of Reid Whitlock’s appointment as the CEO of Tony's foundation. Reid’s work was instrumental in improving Rwanda’s public sector service delivery, competitiveness, and business education. As CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, he now has a unique platform to ensure this work continues across Africa.”

Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Elumelu, said: “As Dr. Boer becomes Director of Strategy for Heirs Holdings, I want to thank him for the leadership he has provided, helping transform the Tony Elumelu Foundation from just an idea into a preeminent global philanthropic institution.

“I welcome Professor Whitlock, who brings considerable global experience in the private, public and academic sectors, which will significantly assist in realising the mission of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in empowering Africa’s next generation of entrepreneurs and driving the continent’s economic and social transformation.”

Speaking on his appointment, Whitlock said he was honoured by the opportunity the board of trustees of the foundation had given him.

“I am excited to join such a dynamic institution, with a truly pan-African focus and an ambitious agenda. I look forward to leveraging my extensive experience and networks to further help the foundation achieve its important goals,” he said.

Whitlock will focus on supervising the foundation's four key projects and programmes:

• The $100 million pan-African Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme – Africa’s largest direct intervention in support of entrepreneurship.

• The Africapitalism Institute, the foundation's policy and research arm, which provides a rigorous programme for research and advocacy, in support of the foundation’s goals.

• The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund, directly assisting, through private sector strategies, conflict affected and disadvantaged communities across Nigeria.

• The Tony & Awele Elumelu Prize, which champions academic excellence on the African continent.

Whitlock will be supported by the foundation's senior leadership team, including Parminder Vir, the foundation’s Director of Entrepreneurship, responsible for implementing the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.

Parminder has over 30 years experience in the creative industries and is the former CEO of PVL Media, a specialist consultancy facilitating cross-border business development in emerging markets.

Bob Wheeler, who recently joined as inaugural dean to lead the establishment of the Tony Elumelu Business School.  Bob has decades of experience in business education, most recently establishing business schools in Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.

David Rice serves as the Director of the Africapitalism Institute.  David is an economist, who led the Milken Institute’s Africa programming, and was also a faculty member at New York University.

Abimbola Adebakin, who will be joining as the Director of Operations after a successful career, including working as a consultant with Accenture and heading the consulting arm of the Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Nigeria.

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