Last week, one of the oldest and largest banks in the world; Credit Suisse, named Tidjane Thiam, an African from Ivory Coast, as its new CEO. It made headlines around the world. It was easily the biggest news of the corporate world last week. Even before his appointment to this role, Tidjane was the first and only African national to head up, a company in the top 100 of the companies listed on the London Stock Exchange. Now he has been appointed to an even bigger position.
Tidjane is a remarkable player; he is to the corporate world what Didier Drogba, or Samuel Et’o was to soccer. Being an Arsenal supporter he would no doubt want me to include Thiery Henry!
Tidjane is a global “player”. He is the benchmark of what I have been discussing in this series. He is also an entrepreneur (or “intrapreneur”), of the type I spoke about a few weeks ago.
In order to be able to build businesses, that will become as big as Credit Suisse, we need to recruit and retain professional managers and executives “players”, that can play on the global stage like Tidjane.
Yes, some of you will be the entrepreneurs that start businesses, but we also need a management corp, of professional executives who can build them into big businesses, that will span generations.
Africa, has a lot of entrepreneurs, who can start businesses, but we have a big shortage of more Tidjane Thiam’s. Let’s celebrate his achievement, and let it inspire the next generation of African professionals… Yes we can!
To be continued….