Tony Elumelu worked in a Nigerian Bank-Union Bank-as a Youth Corp member of the National Youth Service Corps in 1985 before starting his career as a salesman. Elumelu subsequently joined Allstates Trust Bank. in 2005 and United Bank for Africa (UBA) was acquired afterwards.
On his early career, he had said:
“I started my career as a salesman, a copier salesman to be specific, young, hungry, and hardworking, but the reality was that I was just one of the thousands of young Nigerian graduates, all eager to succeed.”
In 1997, Elumelu led a small group of investors to take over a struggling Crystal Bank (later renamed Standard Trust Bank). He turned it profitable within a few years and in 2005 he led one of the largest mergers in the banking sector in Sub-Saharan Africa by acquiring United Bank for Africa (UBA)
Elumelu runs his family-owned investment holding company – Heirs Holdings and his philanthropic works through the Tony Elumelu Foundation.
In 2010, he founded Heirs Holdings, his family-owned investment holding company. Elumelu also established in the same year the Tony Elumelu Foundation, an Africa-based foundation championing entrepreneurship in Africa. Heirs Holdings maintains a portfolio of investments across several sectors.
Through Heirs Holdings, Elumelu holds a controlling interest in Transnational Corporation, a diversified conglomerate with business interests in Power, Hospitality and Energy. In January 2021, Heirs Holdings through its affiliates – Heirs Oil & Gas and Transnational Corporation announced its acquisition of a 45% operating stake in a permit known as Oil Mining Lease 17 from Shell, Total and ENI in a deal worth more than $1 billion.
Elumelu has received recognition and praise for his contributions to business and entrepreneurship.
• In 2003, the Federal Government of Nigeria granted Elumelu the title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic MFR, a national honour.
• In 2012, he was awarded the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger CON for his service in promoting private enterprise.
• He was awarded the Daily Times, Nigerian man of the year in 2016.
• In 2018 and 2019 he was awarded the All-Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) Philanthropist of the Year Award
• Bayero University Kano (BUK) – Honorary Doctor of Business degree in 2019
• He was honored with the National Productivity Order of Merit Award in 2019.
• TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020
He’s mostly know with the wearing of a red socks and dressing very well. He’s a great lover of fashion and simplicity. He’s humble and love to help people around him. He recently launched the ground breaking of a facility for heirs holding in Ikoyi.
Elumelu married Awele Vivien Elumelu, a medical doctor, in 1993. They have seven children together.