Sunday, December 20, 2020 / 10:00 AM / May
& Baker / Header Image Credit: Business Day
May& Baker Nigeria Plc, has announced that its Managing Director, Mr. Nnamdi Okafor, is set to retire by the end of the year 2020, after a decade in the CEO saddle which has been laced with several milestones and consolidation of the leading pharmaceutical company into one of Africa's certified centers of excellence in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Okafor, who was appointed in February 2011, will be retiring by December 31, 2020.
The Board of Directors of the Company has notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), of the impending retirement of Okafor and the commencement of a succession process by Mr. Patrick Ajah, a vastly experienced pharmacist, and business manager of nearly three decades experience. MrAjah who resumed on December 1, 2020, as an Executive Director, will work with Okafor for a 1month transition period and assume the leadership as Managing Director with effect from January 1, 2021.
For nearly a decade, Okafor has come to be regarded as one of the most impactful leaders in the nearly eight decades of May & Baker Nigeria. Taking over from when PBT was barely a third of a billion naira, Okafor has tripled this having led May & Baker Nigeria to become a billion-naira-profit company, doubling the balance sheet size from N7bn to N14bn; doubling shareholders' equity from N3bn to N6bn and also doubling revenues by 100% over his tenure and growing the business by investing in key infrastructure, research, and innovation.
Other notable achievements during Okafor's tenure include the turnaround of the cashflow of the company which was in dire straits at the beginning of his tenure. Net cash flow which was consistently negative in the first 5years due to high debts from banks was turned around in the second half of his tenure having paid off the banks and all short-term debts, injecting fresh equity capital through a rights issue and accessing longer-term, low-cost debts from CBN intervention facilities. This has put the company in a solid liquidity position with adequate funds for future growth and expansion.
At a time that industry headwinds and macroeconomic challenges were forcing several healthcare companies to downsize operations, Okafor implemented major strategic plans that not only saw May & Baker Nigeria receiving the coveted World Health Organization (WHO)'s certification of global standards in manufacturing practices (WHO cGMP) for its pharmaceutical manufacturing complex (PharmaCentre) in Ota, Ogun State, but also becoming manufacturing partner for global pharmaceutical companies. The multi-billion naira PharmaCentre, which was commissioned in 2011, was certified with the WHO's cGMP in 2014.
Besides annual thunderous applause from excited shareholders, many stakeholders had noted and awarded May & Baker honours for its efforts including the Award of Excellence in Pharmaceutical Research and Development by the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Awards (NHEA). It also received an Award for High Quality and Safety in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), and in 2018 it received the presidential National Productivity award.
In a major global development, May & Baker Nigeria was selected by French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi, for a domestic manufacturing contract. Under the agreement, May & Baker Nigeria, in partnership with Sanofi Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Sanofi, would be using its manufacturing facility to produce 5major product brands of Sanofi for sale in Nigeria and the West African market.
As the pharmaceutical company of choice, Okafor's tenure has seen May & Baker Nigeria at the forefront of Nigeria's quest for local sufficiency in healthcare and pharmaceutical production. The company and the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) are collaborating for commercial production of anti sickle cell drug, while the company has also partnered with the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), for its nutraceutical products.
Okafor had led May & Baker Nigeria into Nigeria's main domestic effort at local vaccine production. The Federal Executive Council had at its sitting on May 31, 2017, ratified a joint venture agreement (JVA) between the Federal Government and May & Baker for the formation of a private company, Biovaccines Nigeria Limited to serve as a special purpose vehicle for the production of vaccines in Nigeria. May & Baker holds the majority equity stake of 51% while the government holds 49% stake.
After driving a successful recapitalization through rights issue roundly supported by shareholders in 2018, total shareholders' equity had grown by 100% from N2.9bn in 2010 to N6bn by 2020, Okafor had strengthened the foundation for future growth with investments in new projects, including a multi-million naira dedicated plant for one of its major products and also fulfilling its equity investments in Biovaccines.
Shareholders will particularly remember him for robust dividend payment which had become a consistent practice of the healthcare company under Okafor's watch.