Indications have emerged that one of Africa’s leading digital entrepreneurs and Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, may have decided to quit as CEO of his technology group by 2021.
One of Mr. Ekeh’s closest confidante disclosed that, going by his tone at the Zinox Group corporate retreat held in April, it is clear he will retire as Group CEO when he turns 65 in 2021.
According to the source who pleaded anonymity, Ekeh’s target is to achieve a tech group worth $10 billion in valuation by this time and if he realises it, he intends to change the lives of his devoted employees by making every management staff in the group who has served him loyally a billionaire and others millionaires before retiring into full-time research in the technology sector and social work.
“This is his ambition and I hope he realises this, especially considering the turbulent Nigerian economy. This was one of the reasons his group did not retrench any staff during the last economic recession, an unprecedented feat that is highly commendable in view of the gale of retrenchment that greeted the economic downturn,” the source disclosed.
Confirming the development, Corporate Communications Advisor, Zinox Group, Mr. Echika Ezuka, said that Ekeh’s decision to call time on his stellar career as arguably the continent’s foremost technology entrepreneur is one that was taken after deep consideration, as it would afford him more time to focus on his other humanitarian interests.
Ekeh, who was honoured by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence anniversary on October 1, 2002 for his sustained pioneering efforts in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and as a model for modern Nigerian youths, has been consistent with several technology innovations in Nigeria and beyond.
In addition to pioneering Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics in Nigeria with his first Company – Task Systems Ltd, Mr. Ekeh also pioneered the deployment of digital dispensing pumps in Nigeria in partnership with Elf Petroleum and Schlumberger, France through his company Stanoil. He launched the first ICT support Company in Nigeria – ITEC Solutions Ltd. and also pioneered structured ICT Distribution in West Africa with the launch of Technology Distributions Ltd. which has remained the biggest distributors in the West African sub-region.
Renowned for his disruptive business mindset and unerring eye for detail, Ekeh equally enjoys the status of manufacturing the first local and internationally certified computer brand in sub-Saharan Africa through Zinox Technologies Ltd., manufacturers of Zinox brand of computers and digital devices.
Ekeh is credited with the biometric digital revolution in Nigeria, having delivered the INEC Voters’ registration in 2006 when foreign contractors could not deliver after months of promises. He again supervised the biggest single ICT digital rollout in Africa with INEC in 2010 as well as the largest single e-Library and Wireless cloud rollout project on the continent through one of his companies – Zinox Technologies Ltd.
The serial digital entrepreneur has also been involved with companies such as ICT Brokers, TD Plus, ICT Connect and the launch of Africa’s first ever e-commerce outfit, Buyright Africa. He also recently expanded the Zinox Group with the addition of Konga, Nigeria’s e-commerce giants after acquiring the company from previous majority investors, Naspers and AB Kinnevik. Ekeh also has major interests in a few companies located in other continents including Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
Interestingly, Ekeh has also been credited with pioneering paternity leave in Nigeria when he introduced it in his company a few years ago.
He has received over 85 high-profile awards and served on a good number of Federal Government Committees in the last 15 years including the strategic Nigeria Thinkers, Presidential Committee for Job Creation, ICT Roadmap, among many others.
His retirement will come as a surprise to many, especially in view of his very active lifestyle, devotion to healthy living and Spartan discipline which has made him look much younger than his years.