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The Nigerian Who Owns Gatwick Airport In London – Africa Facts Zone

Story Highlights

  • Business Ventures & Acquisition Of Gatwick Airport In London
  • Who Owns And Run Gatwick Airport In London
  • Why Gatwick Airport In London Was Sold

Africa Facts Zone presents the Nigerian who runs Gatwick Airport In London’ Adebayo Ogunlesi.   Born on December 20, 1953, is a Nigerian lawyer and investment banker.

About Adebayo Ogunlesi

Adebayo Ogunlesi is from Makun, Sagamu, Ogun State in Nigeria. He is the son of the first Nigerian professor of medicine at the University of Ibadan, Theophilus O. Ogunlesi.

Adebayo Ogunlesi attended the prestigious  King’s College Lagos, Nigeria. He received a B.A. with first class honors in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University in England. In 1979, he received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, which he pursued at the same time. During his time at Harvard, he was an outstanding student, becoming one of the first two editors of African descent to serve together on the influential Harvard Law Review.

After studying at Harvard, he took up a job as a clerk for the late American Supreme Court justice, Thurgood Marshall, serving at the court for 3 years- from 1980 till 1983. This effectively made Ogunlesi the first non-American ever to clerk at the U.S’ highest court.

In 1983, Ogunlesi enjoyed a brief stint at the New York Law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore as an associate, before taking up an appointment with First Boston, an investment bank.

At First Boston, he swiftly rose from the position of associate to managing director of the bank’s project-finance group. He spent a great deal of his time travelling through emerging market countries where he brokered high-powered deals among lenders, governments, and firms involved in mining, oil refineries and natural gas plants.

In 1997, the Credit Suisse Group acquired First Boston and subsequently renamed it Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB). Ogunlesi was still one of the institution’s most strategic managers, and by 2002, the new owners had appointed him as the managing director of the firm’s global investment banking division- one of the most influential subsidiaries of the group. Ogunlesi was in charge of a division that managed $2.8 billion in assets and employed over 1,200 investment bankers. His new appointment also earned him a seat on the bank’s board of directors and its influential 15-member operating committee.

However, the elevation was not without some challenges. Ogunlesi had to return the division back to profitability, considering that the previous year it had lost almost $1 billion. He adopted a lean, mean management style, firing 300 bankers and 50 senior executives within the first few weeks of his assumption. He persuaded the remaining staff to accept pay cuts and advocated for reduced operating expenses. Top bankers were required to relinquish the luxury of limousines in favour of taxis. But his cost-cutting measures worked magic. Within a year, the bank had returned to profitability and its revenue had risen by 25 percent.

Business Ventures & Acquisition Of Gatwick Airport In London

In July 2006, Ogunlesi started the private equity firm, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a joint venture whose initial investors included Credit Suisse and General Electric. 

The total commitment capital in the first year of the company’s existence was 5.64 billion dollars. The very first investment of the firm was the London City Airport. He acquired London city airport for £750 million in 2006 and according to information available on the GIPS website, London city airports passengers growth by 22% in the first year of ownership but sold the airport in 2018 for a groundbreaking two billion pounds.

Another two major investments were Edinburg Airport and Gatwick Airport. Adebayo Ogunlesi came limelight in 2010 when he acquired Gatwick Airport In London from the British Airports Authority in a recorded £1.51 billion deal. The acquisition instantly propelled Adebayo Ogunlesi, into the global spotlight and earned him a place in history as the black man who acquired London’s second-largest international airport.

Adebayo Ogunlesi currently serves as Chairman and Managing Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP). The Global Infrastructure Partners assets include transport, natural resources, rail facilities and power generator sectors of business.

Ownership Of Gatwick Airport In London

The Nigerian Who Runs Gatwick Airport In London - Africa Facts Zone

Gatwick is the major international airport in London. It is considered the second busiest airport in the UK. Therefore, it provides a lot of money to potential investors. It is currently the 8th largest airport in Europe and the second-largest single-use runway airport in the world.

One of the London Gatwick airport owners is the Global Infrastructure Partners. This organization paid more than 1.5 billion pounds to control the airport but was still not enough to own the whole airport.

15% and 12% of the airport is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for 125 million pounds and the South Korean National Pension Service for 100 million pounds respectively. A new player later came in to take the equity of Gatwick – it was the Californian’s CalPERS. This organization paid 105 million pounds for 12.7% of Gatwick.

Gatwick airport ltd ownership is determined by several major investment companies on the market. However, the biggest piece of pie is owned by Global Infrastructure Partners.

The Nigerian Who Runs Gatwick Airport In London - Africa Facts Zone

Who Owns And Run Gatwick Airport In London

Gatwick airport is controlled by the Global Infrastructure Partners which is managed by Adebayo Ogunlesi. Therefore, it’s possible to say roughly that Adebayo Ogunlesi has the rights of the owner for the airport.

Ogunlesi shares his ownership with other partners in the Global Infrastructure Partners. So, he can’t treat the airport as his private property. The main idea of his position is to provide management strategies which can help to increase the profits of investments.

Why Gatwick Airport In London Was Sold

The British Airport Authority struggled to stop the recession and with the decrease in passangers. At a point in 2009, according to the report reported a pretax loss of over £780 million. This prompted Adebayo, investment mogul acquired the airport, he promised to make Gatwick a truly first class international airport and substantially improve patronage and the customer experience. And He did it!, most beautiful and elegant and most profitable international airport in the world.

Gatwick airport in London  suffered deep losses over the years, and all the turnaround efforts made by its former managers, the British Airport Authority (BAA), failed to halt the downward spiral. In the first nine months of 2009, the airport reportedly recorded a pre-tax loss of over £780 million, prompting the British government to actively shop for buyers. BAA also reportedly lost £225 million on Gatwick after it was compelled to sell the airport by the Competition Commission.


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