The world has always been in desperate need of great leadership, be it in politics or in business. Talking about women’s leadership, a question always arises. Why is female leadership so important in our world? According to a report, growth in women-owned businesses has outpaced the overall increase in new businesses by 1.5 times.
The qualities of a great leader have never been gender-dependent. An individual’s strength and personality traits make up a person’s leadership attributes, be it a male or female.
However, it is usually seen that when women take on power as a leader, they are usually less encouraged and aren’t perceived as powerful compared to their male counterparts.
According to an author, Annie Megan, having female leadership in any organization leads to a more positive environment all around. Women may not always realize how composed for achievement they are in leadership roles, but their potential and capabilities are irrefutable.
Empathy, open-mindedness, mindfulness, pressure handling, multitasking, and open communication are some of the innate traits of female leaders which make them more in sync with their team.
Oyeyimika Adeboye, Cadbury Nigeria Plc’s first female Managing Director of Cadbury Nigeria Plc possesses all these attributes. Being the first female MD of Nigeria’s foremost indigenous company, is a jinx she broke, in over 50 years existence of the foremost dairy company. Mrs. Oyeyimika Adeboye is also a woman of many parts.
Situated on Lateef Jakande Road Agidingbi, Ikeja Lagos Nigeria, Cadbury Nigeria Plc manufactures and markets sugar confectionery, food drinks, and food products. The Company also processes cocoa and exports cocoa products via its subsidiary Stanmark Cocoa Processing Company Ltd.
With over 489 staff strength, Cadbury Nigeria Plc announced her appointment as Managing Director, effective 1st April 2019. Mrs. Adeboye took over from Mr. Amir Shamsi, who moved on to a new role within Mondelēz International, the parent company of Cadbury Nigeria.
Mrs. Adeboye is the first woman to be appointed Managing Director since the establishment of Cadbury Nigeria over five decades ago.
The astute Chartered accountant, joined the Board of the Company in November 2008, as Finance and Strategy Director, West Africa.
Prior to joining Cadbury, Mrs. Adeboye worked with Nigerian Bottling Company as Finance Director, from June 1994 to March 2007. She graduated from the University of Cardiff in 1986 with a B.Sc in Economics. From 2000 to 2007, she attended various courses at the IMD Business School.
She has consciously built a career in finance, strategy and business administration, both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom for over two decades.
Returning to Nigeria from the United Kingdom was a career-defining moment for Oyeyimika, and she recalls the trigger event thus: “My first “ah-ah” moment was triggered by a conversation I had with an English friend and colleague who was a senior manager in a firm while I was still working in the UK. She had worked in this firm for many years but remained a senior manager while the firm admitted other male managers into partnership.
“She didn’t seem bothered about this and simply admitted that she was not expecting to be made a partner in that firm because it was a “traditional” English firm. It dawned on me that my career limitation in the UK may be two-fold – female and black. The decision to relocate back to Nigeria was not a tough one (in any case my father wanted me back home – for other reasons).”
Born into the family of late Chief Timothy Adeola Odutola, a foremost entrepreneur of his time, one can almost say that Oyeyimika had spent all the years preparing for the top.
Today, Cadbury realizes that women in leadership not only brings important benefits, but that with Oyeyimika at the helm of affairs, her experiences are irreplaceable in the office, boardroom, and at the head of the table.
Being daughter to the man who created a “multimillion-dollar conglomerate including three factories, a retail franchise, a cattle ranch, a 5,000-acre plantation, a sawmill, and an exporting business before the end of British colonial rule in 1960” must have been an inspiration, in addition to having a mother who was a very successful businesswoman. Oyeyimika recalled in an interview that her parents were her role models.
According to Nairametrics, after her basic and secondary education, she proceeded to the University College Cardiff, Wales, where she bagged a Bachelor of Science honours degree in Economics & Accountancy in 1986. She also got executive management education certification in Finance and Business Administration from the Institute of Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland between 2000 and 2007.
After graduation, Oyeyimika started her career as an articled clerk with a United Kingdom accounting practice, Midgley Snelling & Co., Chartered Accountants and was on this job while she qualified as a Chartered Accountant. She became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Nigeria.
She returned to Nigeria in the 90s and took up a job with the erstwhile Nigerian Accounting and Tax Practice of Arthur Andersen & Co for a couple of years.
A role model to many, Oyeyimika spent a total of 10 years and seven months with Cadbury before being appointed as MD, Cadbury Nigeria Plc in April 2019. She is a Board Member Cadbury Nigeria PLC; Board Member, Cadbury Ghana Ltd; Board Member, Stanmark Cocoa Processing Co Ltd.
She became MD, Mondelez (Cadbury) West Africa, two months later. Mondelēz International is the parent company of Cadbury Nigeria Plc.
She sits on the Board of Trustees of the Timothy Adeola Odutola Foundation, named after her father. The foundation targets its philanthropic activities towards providing educational, industrial and technological development for Nigerian youths that may be unable to gain admission into tertiary institutions for their higher education.
Oyeyimika Adeboye also serves as the chairperson of the advisory board of Genesis House, a home for disadvantaged young women, which was set up by Freedom Foundation. She is also a member of the board of The Parity in Income and Education Foundation.
Olamide Adeniji a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper