Some say don’t mix business with family, but like most typical well-heeled families, billionaire businessman Taiwo Afolabi has clearly shown that the foundation of a successful venture is one that is supported by a family tree and that the bond of a family goes beyond sharing a surname.
The successful businessman is following the footprints of those who have walked this path without regrets by positioning some of his children in key roles for the onerous task of running his conglomerate, SIFAX Group and most likely, taking over from him when the time comes.
SIFAX Group, a company that came into existence in 1988 as a freight forwarding agency, has grown to become a conglomerate with interests in maritime, aviation, oil and gas, haulage and logistics, financial services and hospitality.
To help steer the daily affairs of the group is Yinka, Afolabi’s first son. He is the Deputy Managing Director at SIFAX Marine Limited, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group and a provider of special transportation with respect to offshore support services, marine vessel transportation, towage and other related marine services to both offshore and onshore oil terminals in Nigeria and the West African region.
This is in addition to Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, concessionaire and operator of Terminal C, Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa Lagos; SIFAX Off Dock Nigeria Limited, a bonded terminal operator; SIFAX Logistics Company Limited and Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc, an aviation ground handling company and SIFAX Shipping Company Limited.
Yinka is said to be well equipped to handle these humongous responsibilities as he had acquired the requisite experience working in Chevron as a compliance analyst and had previously held various management positions within the SIFAX Group before attaining his present position.
With a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Valley View University, Ghana, and a Master’s degree in International Business Administration from Coventry University, United Kingdom, he is also a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), U.K.
Then there is the newly married Mariam Badmus who is the Group Executive Director, Compliance. A graduate of Law from the University of Warwick, Coventry, England, and a Postgraduate degree (LLM with distinction) in International Maritime Law from the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, Malta, Mariam has garnered experience across legal firms, maritime and aviation companies, such as Kayode Sofola and Co, Wole Olanipekun and Co, Kunle Ogunba and Co, Aluko and Oyebode, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc, SIFAX Shipping Company Limited and Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency (NIMASA) before she took up her present appointment.
A fashion and beauty-conscious lady, Mariam also runs her own private business, The Style Cafe that comprises a fashion label, Mademoiselle Aglaia, a unisex salon, a spa, and an eatery that caters to local and intercontinental foods in Lagos.
Tobi is the Executive Director, Planning, Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited. A graduate of Business Marketing from the University of Ottawa, Canada, Tobi worked with the commercial department of SIFAX Shipping Company Limited where his responsibilities included agency formalities, prospects profiling, and exchanging sales leads before his present portfolio. He holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Maritime Management from Southampton Solent University, United Kingdom.
However, one of Afolabi’s children, Damilola, chose a different path. He is passionate about music and would rather make music and be in the business of music than anything else. He goes by the stage name L.A.X. His father is ironically supportive of his choice and once rented one of the expansive halls in Oriental Hotel, Lagos for the album launch of his son. This was many years ago when Damilola was just starting out. Incidentally, Damilola was unavoidably absent on the day of the launch by no choice of his. His studies took precedence, but his father made sure that all went as planned.