Larry Ettah, outgoing group managing director of UACN Plc. has expressed confidence that the conglomerate is well positioned for further growth and delivery of superior returns for shareholders as he bows out after 11 years in the top job.
In his valedictory Christmas message, Ettah, who thanked the staff for their support during his tenure, noted that the company’s rich culture, talent, assets, strong platform, and resilience will engender sustainable growth in the coming years.
He recalled that the company has faced notable headwinds in recent years, especially “punitive capital costs”, which had necessitated though actions to reposition the business for improved and sustainable performance.
“So far, our focus on consolidating our strategic initiative to support growth through equity calls, unlocking value through realisation of underperforming assets, create value through consumer resonating innovation and restructure the route to market architecture across the group remains in sight,” he assured.
Ettah also pointed out that the company had remained true to its corporate social responsibility obligations, especially in the education sector.
UAC’s flagship Goodness League intervention programmes, especially the Schools Support programmes, he said, had recorded resounding success with significant impact on legacy schools in the South-South, North Central and South East geo-political zones.
Ettah, who is being replaced by Abdul Akhor Bello effective January 1, 2018, said the choice of his successor “revalidates not only the robustness of our company’s succession planning but also the depth of the leadership cadre within the business”.
He urged all staff to extend the same hand of fellowship he had enjoyed to enable the new helmsman to drive the company’s strategic agenda going forward.
“As things stand, UAC is well positioned for further advance in its growth and shareholders return agenda. Our businesses are at scale, capital allocation opportunities exist and new growth engines/platforms are being created,” he said.
A quintessential company man, Ettah said he would always remain part of the UAC family “having spent half of my life at this great institution and immersed deeply in its values, ethos, cultures, and nuances.”
Ettah joined the company in October 1988 as management trainee rising rapidly through various managerial positions and later appointed to top management.
He worked variously among others as the divisional managing director of Mr. Bigg’s Division of UAC of Nigeria Plc. (Now UAC Restaurants), acting divisional managing director of UAC Foods Division, executive director/head of human resources of UAC of Nigeria Plc. before his appointment as the group managing director/chief executive officer of UAC of Nigeria Plc. in 2007.
He is the Chairman of some UACN subsidiaries including UPDC, CAP Plc, Grand Cereals Limited, Livestock Feeds Plc, Warm Spring Waters Limited, Portland Paints and Products Plc.
He is also president of Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and a non-executive director of Coronation Merchant Bank (formerly Associated Discount House Limited).
He said now looks forward to a more quiet life even though he would continue to watch the evolution of the company as a young pensioner, shareholder, and ambassador.