Nestle, Guinness, PZ, Unilever, Coca Cola, Mobil, Total among others are today big global names. AndÂ Â while their founders have long gone, the companies continue to flourish, delivering services to customers and significantÂ returns to investors. One of the major reasons those companies have survived over the years is theÂ great vision of their founders, which was supported by strong corporate governance. In Nigeria, some notable corporate groups have gone under with the demise of their founders.
However, one entrepreneur that is ensuring that his business outlives him and become a global brand isÂ the founder of MRS Group of Companies.Â
While this publicity shy, reticent, is Sayya Dantata quintessential business man has been workingÂ silently to build a conglomerate thatÂ provides business solutions across the African continent, he took a major andÂ commendable decision last week in one of the subsidiaries of the group â€“ MRS Oil Nigeria Plc. A decision many would say is un-African and even more so, un-Nigerian.
Dantata resigned as the chairman of the board ofÂ MRS Oil Nigeria, which isÂ a company listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). In his place,Â Patrice Alberti, a French, has been appointed as chairman.Â Alberti holds a bachelorâ€™s degree in Economics from the Paris Academy and has been with the MRS Group since 2004. He is currently the group managing director of MRS Group of companies and a director on the board of Corlay Global S.A.
Prior to joining MRS Group, he held a number of positions over a period of 20 years in various banks in Europe including BNP Paribas, Banque Arabe Internationale Dâ€™Investitssment, Banco Central, South Africa.
With this development, capital market analysts and management experts said Dantata is trending a part many entrepreneurs in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular dread to trend.
â€œMany business do not survive the demise of their founders because of the tendency to remain in full control and not putting strong corporate governance in place. And once the founders die, the businesses collapse and go under. But with what Dantata has done at MRS Oil, he has sent a very clear message out. He is building structures that will make the business to remain strong and survive in many years to come,â€ an investmentÂ analysts said.
To Mr. Moses Igbrude, a shareholder activist, the move by Dantata to appoint a new chairman for MRS Oil is â€œnot only an intelligent one but it also in line with the tenet ofÂ good corporate governance and indicates he really wants to build enduring businesses that would outlive him.â€
â€œBesides, by putting a new man as chairman of MRS Oil, Dantata been able to address one major problem facing African businesses, which is leadership succession,â€ Igbrude said.
Another analyst said many companiesÂ Â hardly outlive their owners because of lack of structures in place.
â€œBut when you have structures and good institutions in place, companies will outlive their founders and owners.Â Nobody remembers who set upÂ companies such as Mobil, Nestle,Â Agip, Cocacola and so on. BecauseÂ those who setÂ them up have the vision of the future and were able toÂ put in place structures and institutionsÂ so that they outlive them.Â Dantata is apparently toeing this lineÂ and it is highly commendable,â€ he said.
The National Coordinator, Management Systems Consultants Association of Nigeria, Mr. Coleman Obasi, once said anybody who has leadership qualities is not threatened or afraid of bringing people closer to him.
â€œYou cannot succeed alone no matter what you are.Â You must bring in people to assist you, competent hands, people who can buy into that vision. A lot of business owners also lack leadership qualities, anybody who has leadership qualities is not threatened or afraid of bringing people closer to him. But when you lack those things, you think that if you bring in people they will take the business from you. So, I advise any entrepreneur who wants to grow his business to a level to bring in competent hands,â€ Obasi said.
It is believed that why the new chairman of MRS Oil will focusÂ on supervising the execution of the strategies of the subsidiary, Dantata will now have more time to overseeÂ the successful running of the entire group in line with the founding vision to beÂ Â on the global listing of world class companies.
MRS, founded in Nigeria in 1995, is an integrated group of companies comprising Ovlas Trading & Supply in Geneva, Koggi Shipping in Ghana, MRS Oil & Gas and MRS Investments in Nigeria.
MRS is an African conglomerate in diverse activities, yet focused on capturing the entire value chain in oil trading, shipping, storage, distribution and retailing. The company is one of the largest and most efficient downstream players with solid roots in Nigeria and leading positions in fuels and lubricants market in Cameroon, Benin, Togo and Cote Dâ€™Ivoire. The company has a strong foothold in petroleum products marketing in the international market.
As a growing company, MRS has great passion and commitment to Africa and its people.Â Although it has other subsidiaries, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc is most popular because it is public firm listed on the NSE.
MRSÂ OilÂ NigeriaÂ Plc (formerlyÂ knownÂ asÂ TexacoÂ NigeriaÂ Limited)Â wasÂ incorporatedÂ asÂ aÂ privatelyÂ andÂ wholly-ownedÂ subsidiaryÂ of Texaco Africa Limited, on the 12th of AugustÂ 1969,Â thereby inheritingÂ theÂ businessÂ formerly carried out in Nigeria by Texaco Africa Limited. MRS was converted to a Public Limited Liability Company, quoted on the NSEÂ inÂ 1978,Â asÂ aÂ resultÂ of the 1977 Nigerian Enterprises Promotions Decree.
Currently,Â MRSÂ OilÂ NigeriaÂ PLCÂ (MRS)Â hasÂ a lube blending plant that is ISO 9001:2008 certified with a 23.9 million litres annual capacity, 1.3 million kilograms annual capacitiesÂ greaseÂ plant,Â 7.3Â millionÂ litresÂ annualÂ capacitiesÂ tankÂ farmÂ storageÂ andÂ finished-goods warehouses located in various parts ofÂ Nigeria.Â MRSÂ hasÂ modernÂ JetÂ A-1Â facilities in Lagos, Kano and Abuja international airports with overÂ fiveÂ million litres cumulative storageÂ capacity/tankÂ share.Â TheÂ aviationÂ depotsÂ whichÂ serveÂ theÂ domesticÂ airportsÂ inÂ Lagos,Â AbujaÂ andÂ KanoÂ areÂ 100 per centÂ operated by MRS. Being one of the largest down-streamÂ operators,Â MRSÂ OilÂ NigeriaÂ PlcÂ hasÂ Â two million litres/day fuel terminal in Apapa andÂ overÂ 393Â retailÂ stationsÂ allÂ overÂ NigeriaÂ whichÂ carriesÂ aÂ wideÂ rangeÂ ofÂ petroleumÂ productsÂ Â includingÂ Â theÂ Â newÂ Â eco-friendlyÂ Â composite cylinders.