Adebayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian-born lawyer, investment banker, and businessman, has carved a path from being a law graduate to becoming a global infrastructure powerhouse in the finance industry.
Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), oversees $100 billion in client assets spanning infrastructure equity and debt.
He earned the title ‘The man who bought Gatwick Airport’ following GIP’s £1.4 billion investment in London Gatwick, a major international airport near Crawley, Sussex, England. He secured a major ownership in the facility.
And he is set to become a member of BlackRock’s board and global executive committee.
Born in Ogun State in 1953, Ogunlesi’s educational journey started with honing his intellect at King’s College, Lagos, received a B.A. with first-class honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University in England.
He received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1979 and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, which he pursued at the same time.
The businessman also served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court in the early 1980s.
He then navigated the high-stakes corporate finance and securities law world at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, eventually becoming a partner.
He later transitioned to investment banking, working at First Boston (now Credit Suisse) and Goldman Sachs.
In 2006, he founded Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm that invests in infrastructure assets, such as airports, seaports, and energy projects. The firm has since grown to become one of the largest infrastructure investment firms in the world, with over $100 billion in assets under management.
In 2016, United States President Donald Trump appointed Mr Ogunlesi and others as advisers.
Ogunlesi’s impact extends beyond the boardroom. He serves on prestigious boards like Goldman Sachs and has been recognized for his business acumen and philanthropic endeavours.
He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has been named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Africans’ by New African magazines in 2012.