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Some call him a ‘silent billionaire’, and that’s not a bad statement about the man who owns stakes in a number of airports around the world, including Gatwick Airport, the second busiest airport by total passenger traffic in the UK and the ninth busiest in Europe.

Adebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian who started out as a lawyer and then an investment banker, has spread his wings around the world and is currently Chairman and Managing Partner of private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). Although his name may not sound like Aliko Dangote, Otedola and Mike Adenuga, Ogunlesi is also a billionaire in his own right.

First years

Adebayo hails from Makun, Sagamu, Ogun State and was born on 20th December 1953 into the family of Dr. Theophilus O. Ogunlesi who later became Nigeria’s first Professor of Medicine in Ibadan.

He had his primary education there at Sagamu, then attended the prestigious King’s College, Lagos before traveling to England where he obtained a BA with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.

He then pursued two degrees simultaneously at Harvard, and in 1979 received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

He worked as a law clerk to Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court from 1980 to 1981, and as an attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore – a law firm in New York until 1983.

Armed with his MBA, Adebayo switched to investment banking when he joined First Boston Investment Bank as an adviser on a Nigerian gas project in 1983. He also worked with the Project Finance Group, as a financial adviser of several clients on transactions from North and South America, Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Other places Adebayo has worked include Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) (formerly known as Global Energy Group) where he advised clients on strategic transactions and financing for a few years, before becoming the Global Head of CSFB’s Investment Banking Division. He was appointed as a member of the Management Board and Management Committee of Credit Suisse in 2002 and served as Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Client Officer of CSFB between 2004 and 2006.

While at CSFB, he also taught at Harvard Law School and the Yale School of Management.

He was appointed to the board of Goldman Sachs in October 2012 and became lead director on July 24, 2014.

Ogunlesi, the investor

In July 2006, he founded a private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in New York, with CSFB and General Electric as early investors; and assumed the role of President and Managing Partner. In the same year, GIP purchased London City Airport, an international airport located in the Royal Docks of the London Borough of Newham in the City of London. GIP then sold the airport after a decade.

Three years later, in 2009, GIP invested £1.455 billion to acquire a majority stake in London Gatwick Airport, a major international airport near Crawley, Sussex, England. Three years later, in 2012, GIP bought Edinburgh Airport, considered Scotland’s busiest airport in 2019, handling over 14.7 million passengers.

GIP also acquired Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori in February 2018.

Some other GIP investments in the transport sector include Terminal Investment Limited, Port of Melbourne; Pacific National; Italian; Access to intermediary partners; Biffa Group Limited; Port of Brisbane; Great Yarmouth Port Company.

GIP also held interests in infrastructure assets around the world, with selected equity and debt investments across several sectors. The firm manages a combined annual revenue portfolio of over $46 billion and investments of over $51 billion for its investors.

The company is an infrastructure investment fund that engages in both equity investments and selected debt securities. It invests in high quality infrastructure assets in the energy, transport, water and waste sectors.

In the energy sector, Gip has investments in Guacolda Energia, Freeport LNG, CPV, Saeta Yield/Bow Power, Hess Infrastructure Partners, Vena Energy, Naturgy Energy Group and several others.

Other Interests

Ogunlesi is now a member of the Dean’s Council of Advisors at Harvard Business School; Member, Leadership Council of New York at Harvard Law School; and a member of the Global Advisory Board of Harvard University.

He is also a board member of the Partnership for New York City Fund; National NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Board of Directors; NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Board of Trustees; and the King’s College Boys’ Association.

He is a member of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He taught a course on transnational investment projects in emerging countries, as a lecturer at Harvard Law School and Yale School of Management, while also working at Credit Suisse First Boston.

In October 2012, Ogunlesi was appointed to the board of Goldman Sachs and became a senior director in 2014. There is no confirmed source of his net worth, but Wallmine estimates Ogunlesi to be worth at least $22.5 million. dollars and owns at least 66,677 units. of Goldman Sachs stock as of May 7, 2020.

In December 2016, Ogunlesi was named among the business leaders who would be part of Donald Trump’s Strategy and Policy Forum, but the forum was disbanded 8 months later.

Ogunlesi received the New York International Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2019 was named one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine. He is still actively engaged in several voluntary works across Africa.