Funmi Omo is one of the few females occupying executive positions in the Nigerian corporate environment today. As the Chief Executive Officer of African Alliance Plc, it is her job to make strategic decisions that will position the company for growth. She also oversees a team of about one thousand employees, while ensuring that stakeholders’ expectations are met and surpassed.
She is a very experienced and qualified professional who has garnered nearly thirty years’ working experience in the insurance industry.
But how instrumental has she been towards the transformation of African Alliance’s daily operations? Read on to find out the answer to that.
Funmilayo’s early years and educational background
Mrs Funmilayo Omo studied Insurance at the University of Lagos, graduating in 1990 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree, even though she never planned to study Insurance. She admitted in an interview, that she had initially set out to study Accountancy, but was unable to meet the admission cut-off mark for that discipline, due to certain reasons. Fortunately, she ended up loving Insurance, despite her initial misgivings.
Today, she is a trained life insurance underwriter, an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Insurance, London, an Associate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, as well as an Associate of the Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria.
Her early professional life and the long climb up the corporate ladder
Mrs Funmilayo Omo has nearly 30 years of professional experience in the insurance industry, all of which happened at African Alliance Plc. Right after her National Service year, she got a job with the company in 1991 as an Assistant Superintendent. Back then, the company was known as African Alliance Insurance Company Limited.
By 2004, she became the Controller of Technical Operations in the company, a post she held for exactly two years. This role required her to manage all of the company’s technical operations, including the development of corporate, business and product strategies. She was also responsible for the formulation of the company’s reinsurance and underwriting strategies, as well as risk assessment, underwriting of different classes of life insurance, actuarial valuation and administration of claims.
She was the company’s Chief Operating Officer between 2006 and 2012, providing direction for the company’s operations, while also managing core deliverables, including the formulation and implementation of business policies, strategic marketing plans/objectives, technical processes, etc.
From 2012 to early 2017, she served as an Executive Director (Operations) for the insurance company. This role had her overseeing an inter-departmental team of eighty people, in direct and indirect reporting lines. It was also while serving in this role that she recorded one of her biggest accomplishments yet — switching the company’s operations from semi-automated to a fully automated management system. This move is said to have improved efficiency and cut down on manpower.
Funmilayo became the company’s Chief Executive Officer in May 2017 and has since then held on to the position, driving “overall corporate strategic goals and purpose to meet and exceed expectations of our different stakeholders” as stated in her LinkedIn summary.
It is rather intriguing that Mrs Funmilayo has worked in the same company for nearly thirty years. But there is a reason why she has remained here all this while. As she stated in another interview a few years ago, “it is a good company and I have enjoyed every day of my work life here.”
But her career has not been all rosy…
Her career in African Alliance Plc has not been without its difficulties. She has, in the past, identified gender bias as one of the biggest challenges she ever had to grapple with during her slow climb up the corporate ladder. Fortunately, she never allowed the said challenge to deter her. Instead, it inspired her to work even harder. Today, she has managed to carve a niche for herself as an influential female business leader who has ensured innovation and growth.
Surprisingly, regardless of her numerous accomplishments, African Alliance has been fraught with a number of controversies. In April this year, the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s X-Compliance Report listed the company as one of the 38 firms that were fined over their inability to adhere to the minimum listing standards of the NSE, specifically, the failure to disclose audited financial reports for the year ended 2017. For this offense, the company was fined ₦46.1 million. Interestingly, as at June this year, the company was yet to disclose said financial report. This is happening under Mrs Funmilayo’s watch.
All these notwithstanding, she has been a fine business leader. Hopefully, she will manage to steer the company away from further infractions and continue to innovate growth in the company for as long as she remains there.