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Afolabi Adeola – Biography And Story Of The Co-founder Of GTBank

Fola 2

Tajudeen Afolabi Adeola is a business owner, accountant and politician. He founded Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) with his friend, Tayo Aderinokun. He is also the founder of FATE foundation, an NGO that caters to budding entrepreneurs. Fola Adeola ran for the office of the Vice President together with Nuhu Ribadu in 2011 presidential elections.

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Fola Adeola

Fola Adeola Background

Fola completed his secondary school education at Methodist Boys High School Lagos. Afterwards, he proceeded to Yaba College of Technology where he obtained a diploma in Accounting in 1975. He was later trained at Deloitte, Haskins and Sells and D.O Dafinone & Company.

Thereafter, he wrote ICAN exams and became a Chartered Accountant in 1980. As a man that place value on growth, he received professional training from institutes like Harvard Business School, International
Institute for Management Development in Switzerland and INSEAD. Adeola is also a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

In addition to that, Fola had a one year sabbatical at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru, Jos, Nigeria. He did a research on economic development and job creation policies.

Fola Adeola is married to Hajara and they are blessed with six children.

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Fola Adeola Journey Into Entrepreneurship

Fola established Guaranty Trust Bank alongside Tayo Aderinokun in 1990. He worked as the managing director/CEO from 1990 to July 2002. Today, GTB has branches in other countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia and United Kingdom. In 1996, GTBank was listed in Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Adeola retired from GTBank in 2002 and handed over to his deputy, Tayo Aderinokun.

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Fola Adeola

Boards Where Fola Adeola Served

  • UTC, Chairman
  • Arm Holdings as Chairman
  • Lotus Capital as Chairman
  • Eterna Oil as Chairman
  • CardinalStone Partners Limited as Chairman
  • Tafsan Breweries as board member
  • Credit Registry Services as Chairman
  • MainOne Cable Company Limited as Chairman
  • National Pension Commission as Chairman
  • Governing Council of Lagos State University as Member

Fola was also the chairman of Lagos State Disaster Relief Committee, a team set up as a result of the 27th January 2002 Lagos bomb explosion. In addition, Fola Adeola was a member of the National Honours and Awards Committee.


He was also a member of the Solid Minerals Committee and the Chairman of Ogun State Development Trust Fund Committee. On 17 January 2011, he served as a council member of Olabisi Onabanjo University.

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FATE Foundation

FATE is a non-profit making organization established by Fola Adeola in March 2000. The foundation aims at curbing the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria through entrepreneurship. Currently, the foundation has empowered over 35,000 young entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Also, FATE, in partnership with the Centre for Design Research at Stanford University established the Institute for Venture Design in Abeokuta. The centre organise entrepreneurship program with focus on technology, engineering and innovation.

Fola served as a member of the Global Advisory Committee on Philanthropy of the World Economic Forum for four years. Subsequently, Adeola was invited to join the Aspen Institute ISIB Annual Business Leaders Dialogue in Aspen, Colorado in 2001. Thereafter, in May, 2004, Fola was appointed Commissioner on the Commission for Africa by Tony Blair, the then British Prime Minister.

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Fola Adeola Net Worth

GTBank is one of the most successful banks in Africa. On this premise, we can say that Fola Adeola is one of the top Nigerian billionaires. Although we don’t have actual figures, Fola is undoubtedly worth billions of dollars.

Fola Adeola Awards and Recognition

  • Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), 2002
  • Honorary doctorate, Nkumba University, Ntebbe, Uganda
  • Banker of the Decade, Vanguard Newspaper Group, 2009
  • Distinguished Famous Alumni, Yaba Tech Zik Leadership, 2003
  • Change Makers in Social Entrepreneurship, This Day

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Fola Adeola

Fola Adeola Quotes

“I believe that just like a man can serve his God without being a clergy, so can a man serve his state without being the governor.”

“You should care for your staff, ask them questions, find out about their families and if you ask me, I’ll say send them personalised SMS on a daily basis thanking them for all they are doing to grow your business, you’ll be shocked.”

“We need to accelerate growth, but we critically need to also reverse the growth in population.”

“When it’s your day, no one can stop it.”

“The best strategy is one that achieves the intended outcome.”

“Any model adopted must drive towards intended outcomes.”

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Fola Adeola

Business Lessons From Fola Adeola

1. Be Vast In Your Field

Fola Adeola understand the power of getting additional knowledge. He trained under institutes that contributed to his success story. A business owner must keep advancing in knowledge to remain relevant.

2. Work Together With Like Minds

Obviously, Fola Adeola saw treasures in his friend before co-founding his company with him. Be on the look out for people around you that can help your business grow.

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