Just about the time Nigeria was coming to the reality of the presence of the Coronavirus pandemic on her soil, an appointment was made. It was the announcement of Owen Diana Omogiafo as the first female to become President/Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Group. By this announcement, she also became the youngest CEO of a top company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Group. This was the perfect icing on a two-decade career built on commitment, hard work, and diligence.
Owen Diana Elaiho was born on May 28, 1980, in Benin City (in the then Bendel State), and had her early education at the University of Benin (UNIBEN) Demonstration Secondary School UDSS, Benin City. Already born and raised in Benin, it was easy for her to continue her education at the University of Benin and obtain a B.Sc. in Sociology and Anthropology.
Afterwards, she proceeded to the London School of Economics and Political Science for a Masters degree in Human Resources. She later attended the Lagos Business School and IESE Business School, Spain.
Beginning of a career…
Owen started her career as a relationship manager at Bond Bank in 2003, and after spending a year there, she went to Accenture to become the Organisation and Human Performance Consultant (specializing in Change Management) in 2004. In Accenture, she covered various projects and clients spanning the private and public sectors and diverse industries.
By 2008, Owen left to join the United Bank for Africa (UBA) as HR Advisor to the GMD/CEO. The consistency in her career growth took a higher turn from here. After serving at UBA for two years, Omogiafo moved to Heirs Holdings Ltd where she was HR Director and Director of Resources, responsible for establishing structures for optimal man and machine engagement and deployment within the group. Omogiafo moved from there to become the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). She was a critical part of the team that oversaw the $100m Programme aimed at identifying, mentoring, and funding 10,000 entrepreneurs over 10 years.
She assumed the role of Executive Director, Corporate Services at the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp Plc) in July 2018, and was later appointed to lead the brand’s operation of its flagship Transcorp Hilton Abuja and Transcorp Hotels Calabar as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Transcorp Hotels Plc.
In March 25th, 2020, she became the President and Group CEO of Transcorp Group. In this role, she now leads a diversified conglomerate affiliated with Power, Hotels, and Upstream oil and gas assets, with several subsidiaries including the Transcorp Power, Transcorp Hilton, and Heirs Holdings Limited. Besides being the youngest CEO on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Omogiafo was the youngest and first female to occupy the position at Transcorp.
Awards and other interests
Owen Omogiafo’s exploits have not been without acclaim. She has been named one of Africa’s top 100 Female CEOs and also has several other awards.
Business Day (Nigeria) Women’s Hub also named her among 50 Most Inspiring Nigerian Women. Omogiafo made the YNaija – Power List for Corporate Nigeria in 2018, as well as the 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Nigeria (put together by Leading Ladies Africa).
Her position has her sitting on several boards including the Transcorp Power Limited, Transcorp Hotels Plc and Avon Healthcare Limited, where she sits on the Board’s Finance, Investment & Risk Committee, and Audit & Governance Committee as a Non-Executive Director.
Omogiafo is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Power Generation Companies (APGC) in Nigeria. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK and a Certified Change Manager with the Prosci Institute, USA. She is a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) Nigeria.
She is considered one of Nigeria’s youngest but outstanding CEOs, and her bullish consistency in developing her career over the last two decades remains commendable. Knowing that she accomplished all these before clocking 40, is even more inspiring.