Investor. Entrepreneur. Philanthropist.

Anthony Onyemaechi Elumelu

Tony O. Elumelu is one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists. He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Holdings, his family owned investment company, committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy, including financial services, hospitality, power, energy, technology and healthcare. Tony is the Chairman of pan-African financial services group, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), which operates in 20 countries across Africa, the United Kingdom, France, the UAE, and is the only African bank with a commercial deposit taking presence in the United States. UBA provides corporate, commercial, SME and consumer banking services to more than 35 million customers globally. He also chairs Nigeria’s largest quoted conglomerate, Transcorp, whose subsidiaries include Transcorp Power, one of the leading producers of electricity in Nigeria and Transcorp Hotels Plc, Nigeria’s foremost hospitality brand. He is the Founder and Chairman of Heirs Oil & Gas, an upstream oil and gas company, whose assets include Nigerian oil block OML17, with a current production capacity of 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential. Heirs Oil & Gas is committed to creating resource based added value on the African continent.





Education and the Beginning of Entrepreneurship

Nigerian-born and Nigerian-trained, Tony began his career as a copier salesman. He spent most of his career life in banking, rising from the position of an analyst to become the CEO of pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa.

In 2010, Tony left banking to the next chapter of his life as an investor and a philanthropist, channelling his passion, commitment, and dedication to realising the development of the African continent. Tony's investments span a wide range of sectors and are spread across 20 African countries and beyond. Tony is married to Dr Awele Vivien Elumelu. They are blessed with seven lovely children.





The TurnAround Expert

A year after earning his Master's degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, Tony applied to join Allstates Trust Bank, despite not meeting the qualification criteria. By a stroke of luck, the CEO of the bank came across his application letter, and he was handpicked to interview. He subsequently got the job.

At 26, Tony was offered the opportunity of a lifetime to become a branch manager at AllStates Trust Bank, making him the youngest bank branch manager in the country at the time. This opportunity influenced his life, prompting him to give young employees the same opportunity he was given. Tony's success in this role ignited his passion for investing in the lives of young people.

Tony's accomplishments became public when he achieved the seemingly impossible. He was relatively unknown in the Nigerian banking industry when he acquired a distressed financial institution, Crystal Bank and became its CEO; an action that earned him and his circle of peers, the endearing nickname - "the cowboys of banking".

Audacious at 34 – and the country's youngest banking CEO – he renamed the struggling bank Standard Trust Bank (STB) and pursued an aggressive strategy that catapulted STB from obscurity into becoming Nigeria's fifth-largest bank within seven years.





The biggest merger in sub-Saharan Africa

In 2005, Tony made history again when he led the biggest merger in sub-Saharan Africa at the time combining Standard Trust Bank Plc with the older, more established United Bank for Africa (UBA), which at the time was Nigeria's 3rd largest financial services institution. In less than ten years, he transformed UBA from a single-country bank to a pan-African institution with over 1million customers, operations in 20 African countries, and offices in Paris, London, and New York. This action sealed his reputation as a business turnaround expert and one of Africa's most influential business leaders.





The Tony Elumelu Foundation

In 2010, Tony left UBA to replicate his turnaround success across various industries. Armed with the knowledge, expertise, and understanding of economic opportunities that exist in Africa, he founded Heirs Holdings (HH) in 2010. Heirs Holdings is a family-owned African proprietary investment company committed to improving lives and transforming Africa, through long-term investments in strategic sectors of the African economy including financial services, hospitality, power, energy, technology and healthcare. Today, HH and its investee companies employ over 30,000 people, while empowering thousands more across Africa.

Tony also set up The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) in the same year as an extension of his unwavering belief in the youth as catalysts for Africa's transformation. The Tony Elumelu Foundation has become the hallmark for Africa's sustainable development and a leading champion of youth entrepreneurship on the continent. It lives its mission, empowering young African entrepreneurs, through its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme, a 10-year $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 young African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. Since inception, the Foundation has funded just under 10,000 entrepreneurs and created a digital ecosystem of over one million Africans.


Tony's businesses and Foundation are inspired by his economic philosophy of Africapitalism, which positions the private sector, and most importantly, entrepreneurs, as the catalyst for the social and economic development of the African continent. He galvanises support for the Foundation's mandate by addressing world leaders at public and private convenings, as well as serving on sector and issue- specific global, regional, and local councils and committees. Some of the boards include the Global Advisory Council of the Harvard Kennedy School's Centre for Public Leadership, World Economic Forum Community of Chairmen and the Global Board of UNICEF's Generation Unlimited. He was named in the 2020 Time100 Most Influential People in the World, and honoured with Belgium’s highest national honour recognised for his business leadership and economic empowerment of young Africans.