Home African CEOs Profiles Bella Disu: How this Thoroughbred under-40 is Leading an African Conglomerate 
Profiles - December 7, 2020

Bella Disu: How this Thoroughbred under-40 is Leading an African Conglomerate 

At 34 years of age, when many of her contemporaries are still struggling to build a meaningful life for themselves, Bella Disu is already sitting at the table with global business leaders, calling the shots at Nigeria’s second largest telecommunications giant and multinational, Globacom, commanding the attention of Presidents across Africa and Europe.

Bella’s privileged background may have aided her journey to success, her tenacity and doggedness ultimately sustained and helped her rise through the ranks at Globacom, despite the fact that the company was founded by her father, Mike Adenuga.

She was 18 years old when she joined the company, and Bella admits that Africa is a tough business terrain, especially for women, no matter whose daughter you are. 

“I started off in business as an 18 year old working in my father’s company. And my gut feeling is, if you are not tough enough or don’t put up a front, then you can’t succeed. I had to go the extra mile to make sure I didn’t fail,” says Bella in an interview with The Africa Report.

Under her leadership as the current Executive Vice Chairman of Globacom, the company has recorded more than 46 million subscribers in Nigeria, equivalent to 26.6% of the market – coming behind MTN Nigeria’s 37.5%.

Early Days

Bella attended high school in Lagos, first at Queen’s College and then moved to Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls where she graduated in 2000. She then proceeded to the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA where bagged a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations. She later obtained a Masters of Science degree in Leadership from Northeastern University, Boston.

Bella Disu

Bella joined Globacom, the multinational which operates in Nigeria and Ghana, in 2004 and first worked in the treasury and finance department, then she assumed a supervisory role over the Call Centre and the Retail Outlets. She served in this position until she was appointed the Executive Vice Chairman of the company in 2019, having proven herself worthy of the feat.

She took over the leadership of the family business, knowing that the only choice she had was to take the company to its next phase of groundbreaking successes. She said her work ethic even got crazier, a trait she said she inherited from her father. “We exchange work text messages at 3am”, Bella says while trying to explain the amount of work she had to put into pushing an innovative change at Globacom.

Bella has since set the company on a path of sustained competitive advantage through a focus on quality, efficiency, innovation and customer responsiveness…

Read the rest of Disu’s story in the latest edition of the Business Elites Africa magazine here: Find it on pages 48 & 49.

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