Halima Dangote Didn’t Get a Free Pass Despite Father’s Wealth
Cut from the best fabric there is, Halima Dangote, is gradually positioning herself to take the torch from her billionaire industrialist father, Aliko Dangote, and working hard to etch the family’s rich name on the sand of time.
Being the second daughter of Africa’s richest man was not her making, a privilege one should unapologetically wear like a badge, but becoming a thoroughbred professional, an analytical thinker and a problem solver was Halima’s doing, she earned that 100%.
Halima is the Group Executive Director, Commercial Operations of Dangote Group, one of the largest and most diversified business conglomerates in Africa. But she did not land the role on a platter of gold. She earned it after 12 years of professional experience in business.
Expectedly, Halima has a rich educational background that equipped her for a life in business and management. She earned her bachelors’ Degree in marketing from the American Intercontinental University, London in the United Kingdom. She proceeded to obtain a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster Business School also in the United Kingdom.
She further participated in various leadership development programs. This includes the Program for Leadership Development (PLD) at Harvard Business School, Executive Development Program at the Kellogg school of management and finance/accounting for non-financial executives at Columbia Business School.
Fresh out of school, Halima worked with the renowned accounting firm, KPMG Professional Services in Lagos, where she served private and public sector clients on topics related to business performance improvement, strategy, and policy formulation.
In 2008, the same year she got married, Halima joined Dangote Group as a Special Assistant to the President and Chief Executive. After this, she held a number of senior management roles, including the Executive Director, Sales and Marketing of Dangote Flour Mills, a one-time subsidiary of Dangote Group.
Halima, now a mother of two, deployed strategies that set the Flour Mills, once on a losing streak, on a profit track. During this time, a World ‘Puff Puff’ Day was introduced by the company, which is now being celebrated annually on October 27. During the inaugural edition, Dangote Flours Mills broke the Guinness World Records for the world’s largest puff-puff pyramid.
While in that position, she also led what the company described as a “turnaround” that led to the sale of the business to Olam Group.
Halima also served as an Executive Director of NASCON, another subsidiary of Dangote Industries with revenues of $82 million and a net income of $17 million. She still serves as a Non-Executive Director of the company.
In her current role, among other responsibilities, she serves as a key member of the project management team that is spearheading the development and financing of the Group’s newest businesses including a $9 billion refinery and a $1.5 billion fertilizer plant, both in Nigeria. The Dangote Group is poised to become a fortune 100 Company within the next few years.
Growing up with a grandmother who had a strong passion for humanity, Halima’s affinity for women empowerment and support for the underprivileged could be said to be hereditary.
“My father’s mother was a core philanthropist. I grew up being woken up at 12am to just go to the hospital with her to visit the sick. Her own idea is, you have to live the person’s life, even if it is for 10 minutes, and understand it. If we have issues with the internally displaced persons (IDPs), we would go there. It’s not enough to just give back. You have to be there, sit down and have conversations with them, then assist,” says Halima.
In 2017, it was reported that Halima built a N7 billion state-of-the-art operating theatre and diagnostic centre at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano, among other humanitarian works she does through the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the Africa Centre, New York, where is the Board President.
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