From Storeroom to Boardroom
157 pages

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157 pages

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What does it really take to succeed in business in the developing world? One man’s remarkable journey from a rural Nigerian village to a top job in a global corporation reveals the challenges, the opportunities and the issues we must all face up to if we’re to create positive organizational and societal impact, equality and equity in global business.

Babs Omotowa has spent his life rejecting the status quo. His own career disproves the unthinking perception that Africans underperform in global businesses, and his insistence that bigger societal issues such as community development, corruption, transparency and pollution belong on the corporate agenda alongside market and production target has revolutionized big business’s approach to the developing world.

 From government agency blockades due to his refusal to pay an illegal levy, to the fallout from his resistance to paying $2bn to fund elections, to bringing transparency to oil spills and revenues to government, to creating strategic master-planning for community development and to taking tough stance to address corruption issues, his story exposes the challenges of big businesses in developing countries and reveals a better way for multinational companies to navigate these challenges: with integrity and courage.



About the Author



Chapter 1 Beginnings

Chapter 2 Determination

Chapter 3 Ambition

Chapter 4 Making Impact

Chapter 5 Vision

Chapter 6 Integrity

Chapter 7 Courage

Chapter 8 Relationships

Chapter 9 Reflections




Publié par
Date de parution 22 février 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781788602334
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0450€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


From Storeroom to Boardroom makes fascinating reading. It shows what is possible when you combine brains with integrity and courage. Truly inspiring!
Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, Former Minister for Trade and Investment Nigeria (2015-19)
Babs family gave him a strong ethical and educational footing, and more. This guided and helped him to overcome prejudices and negative perceptions to reach senior positions in some of the most challenging jobs around the world at Royal Dutch Shell. His integrity and business acumen were fully tested when he became CEO of a major gas company in Nigeria. This book is a must-read for business people working in challenging jobs and environments.
Ann Pickard, former senior executive of Mobil and Shell; non-executive director of Woodside, KBR, Chief Executive Women and previously Westpac and Catalyst; Fortune magazine s Bravest Woman in Oil
This is a story and unvarnished account of an authentic young man thriving amidst challenges the author has conveyed in lucid prose his journey from the bottom to the top, aided by good mentors, coaches and sponsors who recognized his diligence, tact and integrity. The book is not a whitewash but an account of authenticity through the vicissitudes of life and how, through values of hard-work, integrity, humility and problem-solving skills, he rose from the storeroom to head Africa s best-run organization.
Clement Baiye, Commissioner, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC)
Instead of complaining that a university entrance form did not allow enough characters to record his Nigerian name in full, Babatunde moulded the shortened version he was presented with - Baba (meaning old man ) - to his liking!
This anecdote about how Babs got his name illustrates the approach he enacted throughout his productive and impactful career: change what you can, take charge of your own destiny, compromise on the small stuff but never on integrity and honesty.
Babs memoir, rich in illuminating and amusing anecdotes and life lessons, is a refreshing story rebalancing our perceptions of Big Oil in Nigeria by showing how multinational-led joint ventures in oil and gas - and courageous personal leadership - help community development, act as a source of aspiration and growth for young Nigerians, and challenge and reshape a corrupt status quo.
Pamela Watson, author of Gibbous Moon Over Lagos: Pursuing a Dream on Africa s Wild Side

First published in Great Britain by Practical Inspiration Publishing, 2021
Babs Omotowa, 2021
The moral rights of the author have been asserted
ISBN 9781788602341 (print)
9781788602334 (epub)
9781788602327 (mobi)
All rights reserved. This book, or any portion thereof, may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author.
Every effort has been made to trace copyright holders and to obtain their permission for the use of copyright material. The publisher apologizes for any errors or omissions and would be grateful if notified of any corrections that should be incorporated in future reprints or editions of this book.
Foreword by General Dr Yakubu Gowon, GCFR
About the author
1 Beginnings
2 Determination
3 Ambition
4 Making an impact
5 Developing communities
6 Vision
7 Integrity
8 Courage
9 Relationships
10 Reflections
I am delighted to be writing the foreword for this book on Babs Omotowa and leadership.
What is the relationship between them? Let me first ask the question: Are leaders born or are they made?
It is not one or the other, but a combination. Natural abilities are a great start, but it also requires nurturing through education, experience and coaching. The lesson learnt from childhood, from parents, role models, in faith, at school and from vocations like farming enables the inculcation of core values that become beacons of light, guiding leaders in later life.
The world has become a global village that has brought forth the need for the development of societies to bring people out of poverty and for a more equal world. While governments remain accountable to citizens for the development of societies, corporate leaders do have a role to play in helping address big societal issues.
Nigeria s journey to becoming a developed nation has been ongoing, beginning even before its independence in 1960. It includes partnerships between government and corporate businesses. One that holds a special place for me is the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG), conceived during my tenure as Head of State from 1966 to 1975. I visited the company in 2013 on Babs invitation and I was impressed with the progress made by the company and its leadership towards the vision. I am delighted that the collective effort since then has further led to the final investment decision on the company s growth aspirations - the Train 7 project.
The authenticities of Babs leadership at NLNG and later at Shell global headquarters in the Netherlands, are testimony to his core values of integrity and courage. This book provides excellent lessons for businesses and leaders, and serves as an incisive view of the varied challenges faced by the oil and gas industry, and how core values can help make a difference.
As we look towards an egalitarian world, and as businesses increasingly seek to be a force for good in the light of the lessons from the past, this book couldn t be more timely. It highlights how environmental, social and governance issues belong on the corporate dashboard, and how they can be addressed. It describes how by developing relationships with personal and corporate integrity can make a difference, enabling someone to thrive through challenges and create equality of opportunities.
I hope this fascinating and incredible story inspires many to do greater things in their endeavours towards making their country and the world around us a better place.
Kudos, Babs.

General Dr Yakubu Gowon, GCFR
Former Head of State of Nigeria (1966-75)
Chairperson Organisation of African Unity (1973-74)
I thank Almighty God for my life, experiences and opportunity to write this book. To Him be ALL glory!
I am grateful to my late parents, Chief Joseph Tolorunleke Omotowa and Dr (Mrs) Margaret Ebunolu Omotowa, for their legacies and legendary sacrifices, and for being my inspiration and lodestar.
To my brothers, Dele, Bola, Seyi, and sister, Atinuke, for their unending love over the years.
To my family, Helen, Mayowa, Titobiloluwa, Fiyinfoluwa and Oluwadara, for bringing me joy.
To my relatives and friends (Uncle Reuben, Biodun, Hakeem, Claude) for their endless kindness.
To my colleagues (bosses, peers, staff) at Shell in Warri, Aberdeen, Lagos, Port Harcourt and The Hague, who taught and supported me so much, for their great friendship.
To the staff at NLNG, where I had the opportunity to work with many talented and hardworking people, which gives me great hope for the future of Nigeria.
To my colleagues at CIPS and staff at Eason House, who helped me to build my professional knowledge, competence and global networks.
To the many friends who helped pre-read this manuscript - Ann, Pamela, Tony, Fola, Leye, Kudo, Pastor Mark and Arinze - and whose comments and suggestions made a world of difference.
Special thanks to Ifeanyi Mbanefo, who was with me from the beginning, for the invaluable guidance, encouragement and teaching on writing styles and advice on publishing.
A story is told of a pilot s fighter plane that was destroyed by a missile during combat. He ejected and parachuted safely.
Five years later, he was in a restaurant when a man came and said, You are the pilot who was shot down!
How in the world did you know that? the pilot asked.
I packed your parachute before you flew, the man smiled in response.
The pilot gasped in surprise and gratitude and thought, If that parachute hadn t worked, I wouldn t be here.
The pilot couldn t sleep that night, wondering how many times he might have seen the man and not even said, Good morning, how are you? because he was a fighter pilot and that person was just a lowly safety worker.
My enormous gratitude goes to those who have packed my parachutes over the years and provided everything that made it possible for me to make it through the years. Thank you for letting me stand on your giant shoulders!
About the author
Cogito, ergo sum (I think, therefore I am)
- Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
I t is a cold December morning in 2011. Babs gazes at a picture in a meeting room of Nigeria LNG (NLNG) 1 in Bonny Island, deep in Nigeria s Niger Delta. The photograph, taken 13 years earlier, was of NLNG s first liquid gas shipment from Bonny to Montoir in France. With that shipment, Nigeria had joined the league of gas-exporting nations.
He had flown from Lagos and driven into the Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) complex on the Island. This was the largest industrial plant in Sub-Saharan Africa, which produced 10% of the world s liquid natural gas (LNG) and had generated US$55 billion from its inception in 1999 until 2011. NLNG is owned by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC - 49%), Shell (25.6%), Total (15%) and Eni (10.4%).
In the meeting room earlier that morning, NLNG Board had appointed Babs as Managing Director and CEO of NLNG and as the Vice President of Bonny Gas Transport (BGT). With those appointments, he became a member of the board of directors of the two international companies.
As he looks through the window, Babs can make out a forklift in the distance, movi

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