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Adenike Fajemirokun: Exclusive Barrier Breaker

By Eric Elezuo

Success is a loyal servant that answers to people of hard work, commitment and determination irrespective of class, creed or sex among other parametres. Consequently, when these are put into work, there is every tendency that success, promotion and rewards will follow. This is the story of the newest appointee of Dangote Group, who happens to be the first ever female Executive Director of the group, Mrs. Adenike Fajemirokun-Koumpatis.

Mrs. Fajemirokun-Koumpatis was born in September, 1977 to the serial entrepreneur and business tycoon, Chief Dele Fajemirokun. She studied Civil and Structural Engineering for her Bachelor’s Degree at the prestigious University of Manchester, and took up the job of a fire engineer at construction sites on graduation.

Adenike stumbled into risk management by commission when as a staff of Anup, one of United Kingdom’s best global firms of consulting engineers, her company prevailed on her to attempt a PhD to develop a risk management model for the firm. Of course, the company gave her full sponsorship as incentive. She took the bait, studied Quantified Risk Modelling: Risk-Informed Engineering from the University of Manchester, and today, the rest, as they say, is history. Adenike has gone ahead to become a force to reckon with in risk management globally.

Adenike has amassed experience spanning over 18 years in developing and implementing risk management strategies in financial engineering, manufacturing and other industries, Fajemirokun has worked in reputable organisations like Ove Arup and Partners, Deutsche Bank AG in the UK, Corporate and Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs London and First Bank of Nigeria before joining Dangote Group in 2014 as the Group Risk Officer.

In 2010, she founded her own company AFRisk Management Consultants Limited which she also headed. The company has succeeded in developing enterprise risk management frameworks for some of the country’s major institutions like Central Bank of Nigeria, First Bank Nigeria and First Bank Capital Plc. It was while performing her role as Specialist Consultant that she caught the attention of Alhaji Aliko Dangote

“Instead of consulting, why don’t you just join us?  I need somebody fulltime,” where the words with which Dangote wooed her into the group in 2014. To her, that was a new challenge as she was saddled with the responsibility of doing manufacturing risk different from her usual financial risk management. She did not disappoint. Her prolific upbringing working with various A-list companies including her father’s firm prepared her for the challenges ahead her new terrain.

Exhibiting character and strength greater than that of a regular woman, Adenike has led Risk Management Functions for the Group and its various businesses overseeing the governance model and enterprise risk programme. She develops and manages processes to identify, assess, monitor and reduce risks that could interfere with the achievement of the company’s goals and objectives. She is also responsible for managing the Group’s Insurance, Procurement Portfolio and Logistics.

Apart from holding a B.Eng. in Civil, Structural and Fire Engineering and a PhD in Risk-Informed Engineering both from the University of Manchester, UK, the risk expert is a Fellow of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Specialist member (SIRM) of the Global Institute of Risk Management. She is also a visiting professor at the University of Manchester, UK.

On a global scale, she has been recognised for her work with the Operational Riskdata Exchange Association (ORX), Institute of Risk Management, UK. She is also a member of the Lagos State Research and Innovation Council.

A workaholic of great repute, Adenike is known to draw inspiration from two men – her father, Chief Dele Fajemirokun and her boss, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

Of her father, she said: “My father is not someone that gives you things because you are entitled to it; you must bring something to the table”, and of her boss, she said: “He is one of the most hardworking people I have ever met in my life, including people that I have studied to know why they achieve what they achieved.  I don’t think I have seen somebody who work and hardly sleep.”

On May 2, 2018, Adenike broke the barrier of male boardroom dominance in Dangote group when she was appointed as the first-ever female executive director of Dangote Group, Africa’s foremost indigenous conglomerate, in a bid to strengthen the group’s Executive management team and sustain its strategic business growth trajectory.

“It is exciting seeing a female occupy such a high position. We are gender sensitive and create equal opportunities for both male and female to get to the top. The new appointments are to strengthen the Group’s executive management team and to consolidate on its strategic business growth trajectory,” said Dangote.

Adenike is happily married to her foreign husband, Mr. Koumpatis.

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