Saturday, May 12, 2018, remains another landmark in the calendars of UAC Nigeria PLC.
It was the day Larry Ephraim Ettah anchored the ship of UAC Nigeria, after steering it for 11 years out of his 29 years and nine months of his engagement with the company and Joseph Ibrahim Danlami Dada, erstwhile Executive Director, Corporate Services, drew down the curtain on his 35 years meritorious service at Nigeria’s biggest conglomerate.
Leaders from ‘Corporate Nigeria’ represented by bank CEOs, top company chief executives and the government, led by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, himself, a former chairman of UAC, as well as the diplomatic world, gathered to honour these two men who have been serially acknowledged as perfect definitions of hardworking, selfless and committed gentlemen.
Speakers at the high octane event, one after the other, eulogised the retiring UAC executives as captains, who were entrusted with the destiny of a ship and have sailed safely to harbour.
Larry Ettah, the outgoing GMD/CEO’s policy of ‘executional excellence’ manifested throughout his tenure as he successfully repositioned the company for sustainable growth.
A penetrating insight into Larry Ettah’s managerial attribute shows that the University of Benin graduate of chemical engineering is focused, deep, humble and urbane; all these, combined with his assiduous work achieved sustainable growth at UAC.
Larry Ettah testifies that “UAC provided me with the key to the world… A key to a world of opportunities and growth through travel, study, challenges and experience that saw me moving across functions and industries. In all the jobs I’ve held and the tasks I was assigned, the people I had to manage, I thought one thing and one thing only… How on earth to do the best and the right thing for the company”.
Under his watch, UAC went into joint venture projects such as its strategic partnership with Tiger Brands of South Africa on UAC Foods, Imperial Logistics partnership with MDS Logistics Ltd. and Famous Brands with UAC Restaurants all aimed at driving UAC Nigeria to meet the challenges of modern-day businesses.
Larry Ettah also initiated various expansion programmes ensuring muscular growth of UAC Nigeria, results of which were the company’s acquisition of controlling shares in Livestock Feeds PLC, Portland Paints and Products PLC while Grand Cereals Ltd witnessed increased capacity expansion and UAC Restaurants witnessed the aggressive implementation of its franchising business modules.
Then there was the UAC Nigeria’s unique tradition of the ‘coronation ceremony’ of the incoming Group Chief Executive Officer, Abdul Bello, with the ‘crown of UAC’
A tradition that has sustained through successive Group Managing Directors till date.
The ‘UAC crown’ is the symbolic cream coloured colonial hat which was inherited by the company’s first indigenous Group Managing Director, Late Christopher Abebe, who passed it on to the second indigenous GMD, Chief Ernest Shonekan and in that order through Bassey Ndiokho, Ayo Ajayi, third and fourth GMDs, respectively.
Ayo Ajayi passed the symbolic UAC crown to Larry Ettah, the fifth Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UAC Nigeria who in turn is now handing it over with the ‘bill of landing’ to sixth Group Chief Executive Officer, Abdul Bello.
Bello acknowledged that “to whom much is given much is also expected. It’s a big task that I received from you today with great passion and I confirm that I will carry on the journey to continue and increase the good pace that you’ve given this organisation. Setting us far ahead of others”.
Larry Ettah is the Chairman of UAC Property Development Company, UPDC, Portland Paints and Products Plc., Livestock Feeds Plc., The former UAC of Nigeria Group Managing Director is a non-Executive Director of Coronation Merchant Bank and President, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association.
Larry Ephraim Ettah, a keen sportsman and fitness enthusiast, has been a squash devotee for over 20 years. He is the President and Founder of O’Trafford Squash Club, Ikoyi, a former chairman of the squash section of the Lagos Country Club, is an avid swimmer who also loves sailing.