Anthony Onyemaechi Elumelu is a Nigerian economist, entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is the chairman of United Bank of Africa, Heirs Holdings, Transcorp and founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2022, he was named on Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was born on 22nd March 1963 in Jos, Plateau state in the northern part of Nigeria. He is currently 69 years old.
Tony Elumelu hails from Onicha-Ukwu in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State in the south southern part of Nigeria. He grew up with four siblings, one of whom is Ndidi Elumelu, a minority leader in the Nigerian Federal House of Representatives.
Tony Elumelu studied Economics at the Bendel State University now known as Ambrose Alli University Ekpma in Edo state, where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. After which he proceeded to University of Lagos and obtained a Master’s Degree in Economics.
Tony Elumelu worked in the Union Bank of Nigeria as a Youth Corp member of the National Youth Service Corps in 1985 before starting his career as a salesman. Tony Elumelu subsequently joined Allstates Trust Bank. In 2005, Tony Elumelu acquired United Bank for Africa (UBA) and served as the chairman till his retirement in 2010.
On his early career, he has said; I started my career as a salesman, a copier salesman to be specific, young, hungry, and hardworking, but the reality was that I was just one of the thousands of young Nigerian graduates, all eager to succeed.
In 1997, Tony Elumelu led a small group of investors to take over a struggling Crystal Bank (later renamed Standard Trust Bank). He turned it profitable within a few years and in 2005 he led one of the largest mergers in the banking sector in Sub-Saharan Africa by acquiring United Bank of Africa (UBA).
Following the merger of Standard Trust Bank and United Bank of Africa in 2005, Tony Elumelu led the company as Group Managing Director from a single-country banking group to a pan-African bank with subsidiaries in 20 African countries, France, the U.S and the U.K, eventually stepping down in 2010. Tony Elumelu currently chairs the board of the United Bank for Africa.
Tony Elumelu runs his family-owned investment holding company known as Heirs Holdings and his philanthropic works through the Tony Elumelu Foundation. He founded the company in 2010. Tony Elumelu also established in the same year the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based foundation championing entrepreneurship in Africa.
Heirs Holdings maintains a portfolio of investments across several sectors. Through Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu holds a controlling interest in Transnational Corporation, a diversified conglomerate with business interests in Power, Hospitality and Energy. In January 2021, Heirs Holdings through its affiliates – Heirs Oil & Gas and Transnational Corporation announced its acquisition of a 45% operating stake in a permit known as Oil Mining Lease from Shell, Total and ENI in a deal worth more than $1 billion.
Following his retirement from the United Bank of Africa in 2010, Tony Elumelu founded The Tony Elumelu Foundation. The Tony Elumelu Foundation promotes entrepreneurship in Africa. The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s belief that the African private sector has the power to transform the continent through long-term investments, creating both economic prosperity and social wealth.
In 2015, Tony Elumelu committed $100 million to create 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa over the next 10 years through the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme – a Pan-African entrepreneurship initiative designed to empower African entrepreneurs through a multi-year programme of training, funding, and mentoring.
Tony Elumelu has received recognition and praise for his contributions to business and entrepreneurship. In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria granted Tony Elumelu the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic MFR, a national honour.
In 2012, he was awarded the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger CON for his service in promoting private enterprise. In 2016, he was awarded the Daily Times Nigerian man of the year. In 2018 and 2019, he was awarded the All-Africa Business Leaders Awards and Philanthropist of the Year Award.
In 2019, Bayero University Kano bestowed upon him a Doctorate Degree in Business. That same year 2019, he was honored with the National Productivity Order of Merit Award. In 2020, Time Magazine listed him as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world. In 1993, Tony Elumelu married Awele Vivien Elumelu, a medical doctor and they have seven children together. Tony Elumelu is very wealthy and influential with an estimated net worth of $3 billion.